Mentoring and coaching

What is mentoring and coaching?

Coaching and mentoring are development techniques based on the use of one-to-one discussions to enhance an individual’s skills, knowledge or work performance. They are seen as way to enhance and support employees in the workplace.


Can target high performance and as well as improvement in the workplace. Usually focuses on specific skills and goals, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s personal attributes (such as social interaction or confidence).

Some examples of situations where coaching is a suitable development tool include:

  • helping competent technical experts develop better interpersonal or managerial skills
  • developing an individual’s potential and providing career support
  • developing a more strategic perspective after a promotion to a more senior role
  • handling conflict situations so that they are resolved effectively
  • provides people with feedback on both their strengths and their weaknesses
  • coaching activities have both organizational and individual goals

However, it is also important to remember that certain individuals may not respond well to coaching. This could be because their developmental needs are best dealt with by another type of intervention, or it may be because their attitude may be negative about the effectiveness of coaching and what it could entail.


Mentoring involves the use of the same models and skills of questioning, listening, clarifying and reframing associated with coaching. It can involve a relationship in which a more experienced colleague uses their greater knowledge and understanding of the work or workplace to support the development of a more junior or inexperienced member of staff.

Some examples of situations where mentoring is a suitable development tool include:

  • new to role and responsibilities
  • developing a more strategic perspective after a promotion to a more senior role
  • could be used as in a succession planning scenario, for example, New Headteacher, Deputy or Senior Teacher into post might be mentored by a group level counterpart over a lengthy period to develop a sound understanding of dealing with the management issues in the school
  • could be used to encourage inclusive working practices and equal opportunities i.e. a senior female or ethnic minority leader mentors a more junior colleague from a similar background
  • reverse mentoring (where a more junior colleague mentors a senior leader) can also be effective in encouraging sharing and learning across generations and/or between role levels

Time Frames involved

Coaching is generally for a short defined period of time (i.e. less than six months) and/or for a specific purpose. Mentoring is typically for a longer period of time.

What do I want to do if I want to be coach or mentored?

Speak to your line manager. Explain your reasons why you wish to have this and explain how this will support you in relation to your IPP goals or Teaching Standards.

Who coaches or mentors?

This can be line managers and others trained in basic coaching skills within your school environment. It can be person(s) from other local schools or schools within your federation if you are within one. Or it can be from other external organisations. Please be aware there will be a charge to both time and resource involved in mentoring and coaching.

Issue of Confidentiality

We would advise that guidelines on confidentiality and information are set up between the individual and the coach/mentor at the first meeting.

Both the coach/mentor and the individual would be mindful about what would remain confidential and what can be shared with other stakeholders i.e. Line Manager, Headteacher, Members of Senior Leadership Team.