There's perhaps nothing else in workplace management that requires the subtlety of soft skills than coaching and mentoring. When it comes a sports, there's no misunderstanding the value of a good coach. They maintain morale, look out for the overall well being of their team, bring out the very best of their potential and lead them towards a victorious season. If that kind of leadership is essential on the field, why shouldn't it be as important in the workplace? All managers need to be able to maximize the potential of their employees in a similar fashion through coaching and mentoring. Both are goal-focused approaches that require empathy and genuine curiosity. Mutual, non-judgemental listening skills are paramount. Motivational anecdotes by themselves are not enough. Coaching and mentoring needs to offer structured solutions that help people gradually overcome their impediments and acheive Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and TImely goals. It's a long, patient process. Above all, managers need to remember that rapport is built through mutural respect. Coaches and Mentors don't "fix" people. They understand them.