Employee Coaching and Mentoring- Be A Better Boss

www.betterleadershipblog.com Every sports player recognizes a great coach.  They bring vision, articulation, goals, performance improvement ideals, and most importantly, are truly invested in the success of their team.  Great coaches and mentors motivate, encourage improvement and challenge weakness. They give feedback, set goals and deliver training that inspires their team and the larger organization.  So why is the volunteer who coaches Little League in your local park a better boss than you?

Many employers sit down with their workers once a year to evaluate performance.  And a great majority of the time that worker leaves feeling deflated, unsupported and underappreciated.  To truly grow and inspire your team adapting a model of continuous coaching will build a powerful organization and dedicated, loyal employees who will rise to any challenge. It will also build your reputation as a people developer who shares leadership insight and increases team cohesiveness.

Coaching and mentoring differ in action but have a similar purpose. Both should begin with the permission of your employee and formal stated goals.  With coaching you provide your staff the opportunity to grow and achieve optimal performance through consistent feedback. Coaching seizes opportunities in the moment to praise or correct action and provides input on differing responses to a situation.  Mentoring has longer term goals and generally begins with the employee stating what they wish to work on.  You’ll focus your time on growing their professional abilities and shaping their performance though regular and long term activities.

Mentoring Business Case

What makes a good coach and mentor? Someone who is positive and enthusiastic, observant, knowledgeable, a good communicator, and who is respectful and empowering.  You will strengthen relationships, increase communication and productivity, build trust, and boost enthusiasm and moral.

Get started by answering the following questions

  • Is the employee willing to participate to the conclusion of the goals?
  • What is the time commitment required?  Will you meet weekly? Monthly?  By phone, online, or in person?
  • When does this work together end?
  • Will this be a formal or informal activity?  Will bonuses, reviews and promotions be reflected in this work?

The responsibility of your Mentee:

  • Be willing to stretch and try new things
  • Be able to identify short term and long range career goals and accept that those goals may change
  • Assume full responsibility for their own development
  • Respect for the mentor/coach’s decisions
  • Express an appreciation for the time and assistance

The responsibility of the Coach/Mentor

  • Commit to your employees success
  • Commit to the time required – This may be as little as a couple of hours a month
  • Follow through on requests and promises – Walk the walk
  • Be open to your employees ideas and goals, whatever they may be
  • Create a positive and trusting environment – Find ways to encourage instead of criticize

What’s in it for you?

  • Increased insight into workplace activities and new opportunities
  • The ability to leave a knowledge legacy (Pay It Forward)
  • Reciprocal learning
  • Increased reputation – becoming known as a sponsor, a champion, a teacher, and a role model

I’m a big proponent of documenting the purpose and goals of this work.  A “Memorandum of Understanding” gives both participants the opportunity to clearly define how they will participate, what they want to accomplish, how often they will meet and any other expectation they may have. You may choose to include definitions for success and failure (no follow through, not keeping commitments). This document also formalizes the relationship making both parties more accountable.

Coaches and mentors in an organization, as in sports, are great influencers. They know how to bring out the best and the most in others. They also know that it is an on-going process and a primary responsibility. Rather than relying solely on a review schedule, you can support employees along the path to meeting their goals.  Both coaching and mentoring should be perceived as a road map for success and a benefit to the entire team.   It’s a real way for you to gain insight into your employee’s capabilities.  And it changes that annual review from one of surprises and possible defensiveness to an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and focus on next steps.


Until next time,

Crowe Mead Signature






Crowe Mead


Posted on by Crowe Mead in Leadership, Management, Productivity, Project Management, Strategy

5 Responses to Employee Coaching and Mentoring- Be A Better Boss

  1. Alex Mae

    Greetings from New York! Thanks again for continuing to inspire tech leaders. Your special commitment to passing along this wisdom is incredibly helpful. Understanding that coaching is more than just giving advice or correcting and reprimanding is a hugely important point. As you said, it’s about building emotional resilience and business skill. I hope that this note is learned by everyone who manages a team. Thanks a lot; from all of us.

    -sent from my iPhone. Mistakes are due to my fat fingers.

  2. Maggie Donahue

    Hi Crowe,
    I thought you’d like to know that our team reviewed your Mentoring and Coaching article during one of our Lunch and Learns. It got great feedback and will help to grow the new employee mentoring program we’ve just started. Thanks for the great blog.

    You’ve got a fan here.


    • Crowe Mead

      Thanks for the kind words, Maggie! I’m glad to hear that you found value in those words. Coaching and Mentoring is incredibly important to growing and shaping an organization and it sounds like yours is already on the right path.

  3. Jesse Myers

    Maggie beat me to you! She and I work together and I just stopped by to tell you how much we enjoyed your work. Our entire HR team received a copy. 🙂

    Write more on this plz?

    • Crowe Mead

      Thanks Jesse. I’m glad you enjoyed it. All my best to your team.

Add a Comment