When coaching is not the right option.

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When a coach is not the right option.

Coaching is a powerful and transformative approach but it is not always the right option. There are occasions when mentoring represents a better strategy for the member of staff and the school/college.

Like coaching, mentoring is a structured process. However a mentor, unlike a coach, is expected to support the person being mentored (client) through the application of superior knowledge and/or experience.

The mentor may need to be quite directive in establishing the learning goals for the process. This could be because the client lacks the knowledge or aspiration to set learning goals that will move them in the best direction at the best pace.

The mentor supports the progression of the client through goal setting, feedback and the application of their knowledge and skills. That application can be through modelling best practice, highlighting evidence for the client to consider or encouraging guided innovation.

Like a coach, a mentor must be able to establish a relationship of trust, be an expert listener and be adept in the questions that they ask. Unlike a coach, a mentor does not operate from that principal that the client is resourceful enough to challenge and develop without intervention.

In cases of underperformance, competency or where rapid transformation has to be imposed, coaching will not be the right option but mentoring could be.

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