Coaching and mentoring

  • Learning and Development
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Read how coaching and mentoring can lead to boosting employee performance, productivity, and overall wellbeing.

Coaching, mentoring, training; they’re all effective methods for developing employees and management.

These measures can further improve the knowledge and capability of your employees. Which can increase job satisfaction and reduce staff turnover.

In this guide, we’ll outline what coaching and mentoring is; the difference between the two, and how you can benefit from introducing them to your staff.

What is coaching and mentoring?

Coaching and mentoring is used to help employees learn or improve specific skills for their job. Both approaches help employees to:

  • Learn new skills.
  • Improve work performance.
  • Increase workplace effectiveness.
  • Build soft skills (like confidence, rapport, or planning).

Most employers will measure their employees’ improvement through key performance indicators (KPIs). The coach/mentor provides advice, support, and constructive feedback – helping the employee reach their goal/s.

Coaching and mentoring can be used to develop skills brought up in staff appraisals.

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

On a whole, mentoring and coaching in the workplace are both quite similar. They’ are both approaches used where a coach or mentor helps an individual to develop their skills.

The key difference between coaching and mentoring is that coaching is designed to help improve an employee’s work performance.

Whereas mentoring is more about developing the employee, outside of everyday tasks. It’s about growing their entire working method to help career development in the long run.

Benefits of coaching and mentoring in the workplace

Depending on specific needs, you can introduce coaching, mentoring, or both. It ultimately depends on what you want, for your company and your staff. A coach/mentor can help your employees:

  • Develop new skills.
  • Improving performance in existing roles.
  • Solve any performance issues.
  • Focus on leadership development.
  • Think about professional and personal life goals.
  • Learn more about their role from an experienced colleague.
  • Share their understanding on team dynamics.

Disadvantages of coaching and mentoring in the workplace

Despite all its benefits, there are important drawbacks to think about.

Disadvantages of coaching and mentoring can especially affect employees that have been assigned these roles. Here are some examples of common disadvantages:

  • Resentment from being asked to do extra work (possibly without pay).
  • Issues of loyalty and confidentiality.
  • Effects on employee relations.
  • Work time taken away from the mentor (if they’re an internal employee).

Coaching vs mentoring

As mentioned, there’s a lot of similarities between coaching and mentoring. That can make it difficult to decide which approach is right for your business.

When deciding on an approach to take, you should think about the results you want to achieve.

Coaching will help you to address skill gaps to teach staff something new or improve performance of current tasks.

This can also be done with mentoring. But mentoring is usually less goal-oriented and more about developing soft skills such as leadership.

Creating a coaching and mentoring culture

You can create a coaching culture within your business to help develop all your staff. Training can be delivered from competent members or by external professionals.

Line managers are generally more suited to take responsibility for delivering training. They’ll have better rapports with their teams. And have knowledge of work issues and targets better than anyone else.  

Providing the coaching and mentoring itself can be difficult, especially if it comes from internal staff.

They’ll need structured opportunities and guidelines on specified support; helping to build trust between the employee and themselves.

Here’s how to create a coaching and mentoring culture in your workplace:

1. Vision and purpose

Having a structure in place can help your employees understand why and how they benefit from coaching and mentoring.

2. Training for all

Coaching and mentoring programs don’t have to be isolated or one-off events. You can apply them ‘on the job’, allowing for a more practical implementation for teaching.

You’ll likely see instant and beneficial changes through daily tasks and projects.

3. Lead by example

Training your employees is one thing; but make sure your coaches have a leader to turn to as well. Everyone, from the director levels to the new starters, can reap the benefits of a coaching culture.

4. Coaching and mentoring policy for management

It’s a good idea to introduce coaching and mentoring to managers as they first enter their role. They should understand that it may be a part of their job and might be needed in certain situations (like, after a newly made work policy or for new starters).

They shouldn’t have issues on time management or fears of delivery, as they would be aware of training prior to starting the role.

5. Keep the procedures going

Training policies are often created and forgotten about. Especially at busy times for your business. But it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best out of your workers.

Set times for refresher sessions and have continuous development training. That way, your staff will have access to coaching and mentoring, where and whenever they need it.

Get expert advice on coaching and mentoring with Peninsula

It’s your responsibility to care for your staff’s health and wellbeing; from their first day on the job, right through progressing to higher roles.

It’s important to keep your employees motivated, happy, and healthy. Develop them and watch it turn into increased profit and business prosperity.

Peninsula provides specialised programs and advice on coaching and mentoring your workforce. We’ll help you meet all the legal obligations for employee wellbeing, as well as help you boost employee motivation and retention.

We also offer 24/7 HR consultation and employment advice – anywhere and anytime. Our expert consultants are fully trained and ready to support all your workers’ needs.

And if you’re not yet a client, you can still enjoy free advice from our specialists. Simply call us on


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