Leadership Within – Mentoring and Coaching

Posted on: January 21, 2020

A Mentor and a Coach are very different from each other, yet their skills can be intertwined, depending o the situation you find yourself in.

As a coach, you may need the person being coached to reflect and consider, before you can coach for performance. As a Mentor, you may need to coach people in a certain direction, if they are unable to reflect for themselves in a situation.

Mentoring has most commonly been described as an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who are at different stages in their professional development. The mentor is the more knowledgeable or experienced of the two. The Mentor teaches and trains the protégé[i] with the eye on development rather than a specific goal. It can also be viewed as a peer relationship where individuals at a similar level in terms of their status and responsibilities within an organization, provide support for each other’s learning[ii]. Mentors may serve as role models, and act as advisers, guides or advocates in a variety of formalized and less-formal contexts[iii]. Mentoring may help promote a sense of professional identity and competence.  The personal needs and expectations of those involved in the mentoring relationship will determine which functions will occur and may include not only job-related skills but also social support, friendship and acceptance.  Mentoring is a partnership where individuals and organizations benefit. It can facilitate professional learning, socialization and adaptation of protégés into [their] profession[iv].

Effective “Coaching” occurs when the person being coached is able to demonstrate long-term excellence in performance, is self-correcting, and this result is self-generating[v]. Long-term excellence in performance refers to performance in the area of coaching. Self-correcting means that the clients are able to self observe, know when their performance is off track and make the necessary adjustments to get back on track. Self-generating involves being able to take the competencies developed in the coaching program of self-observation, self-assessment, and self-correction, and applying them to other realms of their life on an on-going basis. Generally, during a coaching relationship, the person providing coaching is remunerated for their expertise.

When mentoring or coaching inter-change of the desired actions can result in higher levels of outcomes for the person being guided.

The daily mentoring and coaching of staff and peers can become an intuitive act, rather than a strategic one. However, occasionally, especially when trying to accomplish specific outcomes a closed session may be more appropriate.

The delivery of mentoring and coaching can be exacerbated when the person being guided is resistant to the guidance offered. This can often be attributed to ego, resistance to guidance, or outright defiance. In these circumstances documenting the attempts to resolve issues through guidance, including the resistance or lack of progress is critical to ensuring you are able to effectively resolve these issues. This will then become a component of the performance management process, and annual evaluations.

Typical actions for mentoring and coaching include:




[i] Collins, 1994; Newby & Corner, 1997; Yoder, 1990

[ii] Eby, 1997; Wood, 1997

[iii] Jipson & Paley, 2000

[iv] Kalbfleisch & Bach, 1998

[v] Flaherty, 1999