Understanding the skills, principles and practice of effective management coaching and mentoring

Outcome 1 
1.1 - Define what coaching and mentoring is within the context of an organisation and explain the similarities and differences between coaching and mentoring
- Click here for Assignment tip -
- Click here to download assignment -
- Click here for interactive section -





Jackie Arnold states in Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace that "Coaching is a way of encouraging and supporting someone to achieve a goal or to develop or acquire skills. The focus of coaching is the individual being coached (the coachee). The coach makes interventions to support the coachee to move forward and to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions. Although a coach need not have knowledge or expertise in any areas of their coachees' work, they are skilled professionals trained in methods and processes that enable their coachees to develop and change positively"

Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace - Jackie Arnold - 2009 - ISBN: 9781845283186

Whitmore (1992, p. 8) proposes that "coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them".

The European Mentoring & Coaching Council recognise that "coaching is facilitating the client's learning process by using professional methods and techniques to help the client to improve what is obstructive and nurture what is effective, in order to reach the client's goals".

Coaching can also be described as:

"Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."
Within organisational contexts coaching may include 'one-to-one' or 'one-to-several' interactions.


Even though there are differences in definitions and there is a wide range of applications, the main aspects of coaching include a helping, collaborative and collaborative rather than directional relationship between coach and coachee. There is a focus on finding solutions in preference to digging into the problem. There is an emphasis on goal-setting; and the recognition that although the coach needs expertise in facilitating learning through coaching, the coach does not necessarily need a high degree of personal experience in the client's chosen area of learning. Many coaches may well have considerable knowledge and expertise in the specific issues, and they bring this knowledge to the coaching relationship but mainly to demonstrate the understanding rather than give the answer. 


This non-directional ask-not-tell approach is the focus of the work of John Whitmore (1992), and he emphasises an approach of facilitation through coachee self-discovery.

The directional approach of tell-rather-than-ask, is supported in the approach of Marshal Goldsmith (2000), which emphasises direct feedback and advice-giving as being the method of learning. In this context, this approach is more characteristic of mentoring. 

It is suggested that these two approaches are not totally different but that they lie on a continuum. It is not about a right or wrong approach but finding and using the approach which best helps the client reach their goals, and which is the most appropriate at particular points in any specific coaching conversation.

The aim then is to get the right balance between the coachee self discovery and offering content or information and this balance varies at different points in the overall coaching engagement and within individual coaching sessions. As Cavanagh suggests "The skilful and experienced coach knows when to move across the ask-tell dimension, and knows when to promote self-discovery and when to give expert-based authoritative or specialised information".

Evidence-based coaching Volume 1 Theory, research and practice from the behavioural sciences edited by Michael Cavanagh Anthony M. Grant Travis Kemp - ISBN 1 875378 57 X.


1.1 - Context, definition and difference 

1.2 - Barriers to using coaching 

1.3 - The case for coaching 

2.1  - Knowledge, skills and behaviour

2.2 - Effective communication 

2.3 - Responsibilities to manage relationships

3.1 - Review a model or process 

3.2 - Rationale for contracting 

3.3 - Exploring expectations and boundaries 

3.4 - Rationale for supervision 

4.1 - Review elements required for integrated coaching


4.2 - Analyse how benefits evaluated