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Gary Cattermole

The Survey Initiative


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Ten fast tips for successful mentoring and coaching


Coaching and mentoring can reap huge results in all organisations, but how do you make it work effectively?

Take two minutes out of your day and read our top ten tips to help get coaching and mentoring right, covering all aspects including understanding the problem that needs to be solved to ensuring you understand the difference between mentoring and coaching. 

1) Never use coaching as a solution to a remedial issue

It has to be entered into willingly by the coachee. If you have an employee who is not behaving as they ought, tackle it as a disciplinary issue, coaching is not the alternative 'avoidance' route.

2) Never force a coachee to work with a specific coach

The fit has to be there for the trust to build.

3) Have a clear understanding of what coaching is (behaviour change)

It is distinct from both mentoring (skill development) and counselling (emotional support). Both sides may not understand the differences and could be expecting something different from coaching.

4) Mentoring versus coaching – which is best?

Mentoring is often used for junior and middle role positions, whilst coaching is beneficial for those in more senior roles. Usually a blend of both methods is used – with a weighting towards one. This does not mean you should not coach junior roles, only it might be less effective as they may have less inner knowledge to exploit – which pure coaching draws upon.

5) Start with a good set of ground rules

The level of confidentiality that will exist needs to be agreed. Breaking this fundamental rule would impact on the employment relationship by causing a breakdown in trust and confidence between both parties.

6) Have a clear idea of the problem that needs to be solved

This means a start and end point can be identified; and evaluate how much coaching helped to achieve the ultimate goal.

7) The focus of coaching must be on what the individual has decided they want to focus on

Otherwise it will never be a success.

8) The employer needs to ensure that the coaching and mentoring relationship is working

Survey staff to ensure their needs are being met. Surveys can also be used to monitor the extent that managers are using the coaching approach in their day-to-day, one-to-one and team management style.

9) How to measure the success?

Often the evidence of effective coaching is anecdotal. However, it is still very useful to collect qualitative data to share positive success stories throughout the organisation.

10) Offer time for coachees to self-evaluate their experiences

It can sometime prove the most effective way of measuring results. 

Interested in this topic? You may also enjoy A new way of coaching: how to reset your coachee’s operating system

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Gary Cattermole


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