Coaching, Mentoring, and Feedback

A key responsibility of every manager is develop his or her staff members which can be achieved by coaching and mentoring them regularly; this allows a manager to have on-going and meaningful discussions with employees. This in turn can result in improved department and employee performance, increase employee engagement and dedication, and support the achievement of established operational and employee goals.


The practical coach inspires, encourages, and challenges his or her team. It is important to establish expectations from the very beginning so that employees have a clear goal that they need to work towards. As you coach and motivate employees here are some tips that can be followed to cultivate mutually-beneficial and effective coaching sessions:

  • Establish goals and expectations and be sure to clearly communicate them from the beginning.
  • Lead by example by consistently modeling expected behaviors.
  • Create an environment of accountability where it is safe to fail and lessons can be learned from mistakes.
  • Provide timely and specific feedback. Frequently recognize and show appreciation for great work performance, while also ensuring that poor work performance or habits are addressed and corrected as needed.
  • When giving feedback, conduct collaborative conversations that allow for two-way dialogue. Use these conversations as an opportunity to listen to and learn about the employee, as well.
  • Remember individuals are unique and managers should understand that different methods of learning and motivation may need to be applied to each employee in order to help them change and grow.
  • Follow up with the employee and be sure to check-in periodically to evaluate how they are doing.


What is mentoring? "Mentoring is the individualized support, assistance, guidance and optimum amount of challenge which one professional gives to another--whether new comer or mid-careerist in the profession." (University of California)

The mentoring process can take place in a formal or informal context. A formal mentoring program identifies and matches mentors and proteges. Informal mentoring occurs when people seek out and take advantage of opportunities that exist.

Mentoring is a relationship between two people where the following exchange may occur:

  • Sponsorship and exposure to new opportunities;
  • Coaching and feedback on work performance;
  • Role-modeling of values, attitudes, and skills;
  • Counseling and confidential sharing of information;
  • Acceptance and confirmation where trust and support build self-confidence;
  • Mutual respect, friendship, and caring about the well-being of another person;
  • Shared responsibility where both mentors and proteges have a role.