Expert panel: What are the benefits of coaching and mentoring?

For this Expert Panel, we decided to reach out to Coaching and Mentoring professionals to get their advice on why companies and individuals should consider using coaching and mentoring.

Coaching and mentoring are effective approaches to developing employees or a great journey towards personal and professional development. Both have grown in popularity, with many employers and individuals using them to enhance their people’s skills, knowledge, and performance around specific skills and goals.

Coaching and mentoring are development approaches based on the use of one-to-one conversations to enhance an individual’s skills, knowledge or work performance.

Please enjoy or collection of experiences and examples of the benefits of mentoring and coaching for employees and individuals so many great professionals shared in this panel:

Brooke Dryland

Director, Workforce & People Capability

Coaching is an empowering and accountability-based process which supports an individual to shine a light on untapped potential. Whereas Mentoring offers the tools and experience within a specific field or area of expertise. Coaching and mentoring can be used in tandem and can be a powerful force in improving personal insight and  performance. 

Steve Preston

MD, SMP Solutions (Career & People Development) Ltd

Coaching And Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are processes that enable both private individuals, also managers and leaders within companies and organisations to achieve their full potential. Although similar, there are fundamental differences and views vary widely as to their exact nature. The following definitions have served me over the years to help people understand and embrace coaching and mentoring.

What is mentoring?

  • Derived from Greek mythology – Odysseus, King of Ithaca, went to fight the Trojan War and entrusted his son Telemachus to the care and direction of his entrusted friend, Mentor
  •  ‘Mentor’ is now synonymous with trusted adviser, friend, teacher, wise person
  •  Oxford dictionary definition ‘experienced and trusted adviser’

How does mentoring work?

Mentoring enables an individual (mentee) to work with and follow in the path of an ‘older and wiser’ colleague who is the Confidante, Teacher, Role Model, Adviser, Friend, Helper who can pass on knowledge, experience, and open doors to otherwise out of reach opportunities. I was Mentor to several people in my management career and you may also have mentored various subordinates to help them develop their careers. Or you may have developed an area of specialism which you could demonstrate as an expert and mentor newcomers.

External mentors are only different in the fact that they are independent of the organisation; therefore, have no line responsibility for the ‘mentee’. External mentors are being heavily used in different ways to support businesses e.g.:

  •   Business start-up
  •   Business growth
  •   Young entrepreneurs
  •   Specific individual progression within organisations (especially senior executives) where they do not have the internal resource

What is Coaching?

Coaching gained massively in popularity in the nineties and into the new millennium, as individuals and businesses started to realise the transformational value that the coaching approach can bring. This is especially true at key times of change to enable people or businesses to move from where they are now to where they want to be. This is what excites me about coaching. There are a million and one definitions of coaching, here is mine:

“Coaching is facilitating the process of unlocking potential to achieve specific personal or business goals.”

There are many more complex definitions. However, this works for me as it is simple and I hope you agree, self-explanatory.

Essentially, Coaching is a form of personal development. It is the process by which individuals are enabled, through questioning and discussion to achieve specific goals, e.g. to change careers, to solve problems. Or they may wish to transfer their learning to the workplace, in order to improve their personal performance, gain insights about themselves, their capabilities and potential.

How does coaching work?

  •   Developing an individual’s performance by unlocking their capabilities through guided questioning, the use of coaching tools and conversation
  •   Supporting the coachee as a facilitator, helping to raise their awareness through analysis and reflection
  •   Facilitating the coachee to arrive at their own ideas and solutions
  •   A good coach should be able to develop a powerful relationship with the coachee based on honest and non-judgmental dialogue
  •   Challenging perceptions and behaviour in a way that will enable the coachee to make significant transformations or performance improvements
  •   Because coaching involves the participation of the coachee to find their own solutions and agree the actions they will take, it drives deeper and more lasting behavioural change than other forms of training

In general, although there will be exceptions, coaching should not be directional, as the coach does not provide answers to specific problems. Instead, they will facilitate the process of self-resolution through specific questioning. Therefore, the coach does not need to be an expert in the specific area requiring development but highly skilled in questioning and active listening. However, there inevitably comes a point in the coaching relationship when the coachee will ask the coach for very specific advice or recommendations.

There are numerous forms of speciality or niche coaching. To help me get my first book project off the ground, I worked with a ‘writer’s coach’. They were recommended to me as someone who could help me put structure around my book idea and turn it into reality.

Although I had written dozens of articles, writing a book is a different ball game. I would not have engaged my Coach if I did not know she was a specialist in her field, as I had many questions and much to learn!

Sports coaching tends to be much more directional, although a good coach will often question the coachee about why something is either working well or not, before giving their view. This is a much more powerful approach, as the coachee will often give reasons and thoughts that the coach may not have considered. The coach might only be looking at things from a technical perspective, rather than physical or psychological.

Other examples of coaching:

  •   Life Coaching
  •   Executive Coaching
  •   Performance Coaching
  •   Corporate/Business Coaching
  •   Small Business Coaching
  •   Group/Team Coaching
  •   Relationship Coaching
  •   Parent Coaching
  •   Retirement Coaching
  •   Youth Coaching

Sten Andre Rigedahl

Strategic Vision:

One of the key benefits of coaching and mentoring is that it helps you get where you want to go.

It also helps you by guiding, challenging and supporting you along the way as well as keeping you accountable to take action.

Salvatore Fernandez

Antal International

Coaching and mentoring?

Coaching is sharing knowledge, and knowledge is power to enhance one life in every aspect?

Mentoring is giving to someone else. What someone else has given to you makes life more rewarding?”

Monika McDermott 

Head of People, Talent & Culture

Although viewed as completely different fields; coaching and mentoring are both are geared towards helping people realise their potential, reach goals and lead a better quality lifestyle.

Despite coaching and mentoring use the same skills and approach, coaching tends to be short-term and task-based, whereas mentoring involves a longer-term relationship.

The difference can be summarised as follows:

 “A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers for your questions.”

Successful companies – large and small – use coaching and mentoring to tackle complex human resource challenges, such as increasing employee retention, enabling company succession plans, and improving workforce productivity. By encouraging a learning culture, companies ensure that employees take an active role in spreading knowledge and best practices throughout their organisation. It also helps to create an environment of trust, belonging, understanding, support, and encouragement for a diverse workforce. It gives employees an opportunity to voice their concerns, overcome hurdles, and find solutions. As a result, it inspires employees to perform to their highest ability

Francesca Aaen

Leadership and Executive Coach, Ascenso Coaching

For my clients, coaching gives them a safe and unbiased space to work through ideas and challenges from both inside and out of the workplace. My coaching supports them to become more self-aware, more focused and to develop their emotional intelligence.

Using powerful questions, I challenge my clients to think more deeply, be honest about their aspirations, their needs and what they really want, and to explore ideas they hadn’t considered before, allowing them to find a way forward that they are invested in and that they are motivated to pursue.

And, as a coach, the coaching process is hugely satisfying as I watch my clients have those lightbulb moments and really begin to thrive and take ownership of creating success on their terms.

Elizabeth Houghton

Career Transition Coach

So many benefits come from working with a Coach and/ or mentor.

It is important to acknowledge the difference between a coach and a mentor.

A mentor is generally someone in your dream position, someone that has have particle experience at achieving what you want to achieve.  Where a coach is an expert at helping you uncover yourself, and empowering you to listen to yourself and make the right decisions for yourself.

A mentor may tell do you want to do, whereas a coach will help guide you to figure out the best approach for you.

The main benefits of working with a career coach are:

  •   Help you unearth what you want from your career
  •   Help you understand what will bring you fulfilment at work
  •   Helping identifying the right role and employer profile that you will thrive in
  •   Helping you become clear and focused about what next in your career
  •   Providing an external perspective on you and your situation
  •   Help with implementing a successful job search strategy

Find your Clarity

Empower your Mindset

Build your Strategy

Live with Passion

Sylvana Caloni

Founder, SC Executive Coaching

A coaching partnership is designed to provide the coachee with insights, new perspectives and practices that he or she could not achieve alone. We are all capable of pausing and self-reflection. For example, some of us practice daily journalling, mindfulness and meditation. These are very helpful.  And partnering with a coach supercharges our self-discovery process. This improves our leadership competencies and ability to engage with colleagues who have different world views and interpret things differently from us.

By asking perceptive questions a coach assists us to illuminate our blind spots, our habitual behaviours and assumptions. And as we have learned through neuroscience, when we have an insight, rather than being told what to do or receiving advice, we own that information and are more likely to sustain the new understanding, attitude, belief or behaviour to change how we respond to challenges.

As the coachee articulates his or her issue, the coach observes and listens deeply, without judgement or a predetermined solution. The coach mirrors what he or she has seen, heard or felt to the coachee.

In my case I have experienced the benefits of coaching both as a coachee – when I was an Executive Vice President in a global financial services company – and as a coach. As a coachee I learned how to supplement my abilities to support and encourage my reports with being more assertive and setting boundaries. As leaders we not only need to nurture, we also need to make hard decisions and set standards.

My coaching clients have often reached their leadership roles due to their expertise and knowledge. The negative consequences of this is that they can find it hard to delegate, to listen to alternative perspectives, to ask for help and to cope with the unknown. They have built their reputations on ‘knowing it all’ and ‘having all the answers’. Leading in times of complexity and with teams of diverse communication and working styles, my clients have learned that they can no longer operate from the view ‘it’s my way or the highway’.

By uncovering their default habits and practising different ways of engaging with their colleagues, calibrating what works and doesn’t work and embedding their learning, they have increased their trust in, and between, their colleagues. My clients are more able to facilitate open discussions where challenge and alternative interpretations are welcomed. They have become more aware of what motivates or impedes their team members and they have become more flexible leaders. As a result employee engagement and business performance have improved.

While mentoring shares aspects of one-to-one coaching conversations, the fundamental difference is that a mentor offers advice, suggestions and perspectives from his or her own experiences. The mentor has usually achieved what the mentee is trying to accomplish. The mentor can point the mentee in the right direction and encourage the mentee to take on roles or initiatives, that he or she may not have considered possible.

I have had mentors who helped me by outlining the procedures necessary to address bullying in the workplace, or who have encouraged me to put myself forward for leadership roles. And as a mentor I particularly appreciate the reciprocal nature of the relationship. My mentees are usually much younger than me. They keep me in touch with trends and perspectives that I am not aware of or familiar with. And I encourage them to put themselves forward for awards, connect them to experts within my network and point out the pros and cons of how I tackled issues in my professional or personal life.

Alan Aldridge

Catalyst Coaching and Mentoring

Always doing your best and being effective in a senior position can be tough and challenging, right? Pressures from targets and the demands of your boss combine with frequent team and people challenges can leave you wondering how well you’re really performing.

A combination of Coaching and Mentoring will take you closer to being ‘the best you can be’ and delivering the best you can for your organisation. This is quite often a combination of helping clarify and then deliver against your aspirations, and/or understand and resolve the barriers, challenges and issues you’re facing.

It’s important to distinguish between Mentoring and Coaching. A mentor will give you insightful answers to your questions whereas a coach will give you insightful questions for your answers, and whilst this combination isn’t magic, it can be truly magical in terms of its impact!

The demonstrable benefits are clear. The Association of Talent Development estimates the return on investment the coaching to be 900%. Our own research has shown, of our clients surveyed:

  100% saw a definite improvement in business performance

  72% said most or every session produced powerful insights and new ideas

  86% said it was hugely insightful and influential in resolving complex business problems

  85% left almost every session feeling inspired and motivated

  86% recognised a broad improvement in personal performance

  71% exceeded their initial expectations of coaching (with <strong>100%</strong> met or exceeded)

Erwin Wils

Mindset and business strategist at Millionaire Life Strategy

For me, coaching and mentoring is the shortcut to success. You can try it all on your own, or have guidance from a coach or mentor. I would like to emphasize the difference between the roles of a coach and mentor: a mentor is a person with experience in the your line of business that can offer his/her knowledge, experience and for instance, help you prevent making the mistakes they made in the past. A coach is someone that gets the best out of their clients in the field they have experience in.

As an example, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all have coaches. Most of their coaches are former tennis players, but none of them have reached the same level as their coachees. On the other hand, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and André Agassi would have been mentors as former champions.

Following on that, in sports it is the most normal thing of the world to have a coach. Why should it be different in other areas of our lives? We don’t see our own blind spots, we need another person to makes us aware of those. That’s where coaches and mentors are for. They can advise us, guide us, keep us accountable and make sure we get the best out of us.

Even the best coaches of the world have their own coaches, just because of that.

Lorne Lee

Managing Director, Mind Recruitment

What are the benefits of coaching and mentoring? I have run many companies over a number of decades all over the world and one key element which is overlooked when developing staff is the huge amount of personal satisfaction it gives you to see someone you have mentored and coached over a number of years start to come of age and become a better person, better employee and usually become a mentor themselves and give something back.

Hope that helps and please reach out if you need any more insights in the future.

Joao Bocas

CEO at Digital Salutem

The Benefits of coaching and mentoring are :

  •   Achieving goals faster
  •   Avoid costly mistakes
  •   Stay Focus
  •   Speed up processes
  •   Accountability
  •   Increase Performance
  •   Make faster Decisions
  •   Gain Confidence

James Peters

James Peters Lifestyle

What are the benefits of hiring me as a transformational mindset coach?


  •   You will start taking more effective and focused actions immediately.
  •   You will shift childhood frustrations.
  •   You will learn to let go of disempowering emotions and become trigger.
  •   You will create momentum so it’s easier to get results.
  •   You’ll set better goals that are based on what you really want.
  •   You’ll have more time and energy.

David White


Coaching and mentoring provide confidence and support to ensure you stay ahead. A big benefit is to hear a new perspective. Like getting to the top of a hill, you reach for a set of binoculars, you can see further. Just articulating a view can lead to additional intelligence being developed. With the support of a mentor, your pace of achievement is likely to dramatically quicken.

Chris Leach

Founder, Bramley Advisors

The best executive & career coaches help clients to unlock fresh thinking and perspective in order to articulate, plan for & achieve goals and/or to overcome obstacles that for whatever reason appear to be inhibiting their progress. The most successful coaching engagements and outcomes occur when client’s goals are clear and there is need to address them in the immediate term. 

Great coaches are very attentive listeners and seasoned observers of verbal and non-verbal communication. They ask thoughtful questions and encourage clients to stretch beyond the obvious into new frontiers of possibility.

The best coaches don’t waste time, they inspire a deep level of trust quickly with their clients based on their unique style, coaching competence & experience and in demonstrating that they have their clients’ best interests at heart and an obvious willingness to journey with them. When these elements are present great things can happen and light bulbs of enlightenment begin pop.

One of the most important success factors in my coaching is to meet clients where they are and apply an eclectic mix of techniques to help clients to frame their real ambitions, asking open-ended & thought-provoking questions such as ‘What situations have brought out the best in you  and what skills/characteristics did you demonstrate?’ or conversely ‘What situations bring out the the worst in you and what effect might this have on others?’. These refer to behavioural triggers, which can be both positive and negative and can be managed through awareness and coaching to great effect, especially in aspiring leaders.

Once trust is established, most clients love to talk about themselves, especially to an actively engaged coaching audience especially what motivates them and what challenges they face. 

Great coaches encourage and challenge clients to find & utilise their inner strength, to embrace the choices they are empowered to make, to imagine the possibilities, to assess ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ and to ponder taking appropriate, calculated risk. The simple act of verbalising such thoughts & feelings can create substantive breakthroughs. 

I love my work and get a real buzz from working with smart leaders executives who want to become more self-aware and ultimately a better version of themselves, both in business and in their personal lives. Life is too short and time too precious to mess around. I’m passionate about helping clients to leverage their time, money and effort in an engaging and enjoyable way such that the payback is a no-brainer. The coaching outcomes can be truly spectacular & liberating if the stars align and the client owns them all personally. Seeing these emerge from the deep recesses of a client’s mind  also brings me immense satisfaction.”

Simon Foister

Speaker and Coach

I believe that coaching and mentoring are paramount for any business today, whether that be large corporations or single owner operators. I actually work with coaching and mentoring in different ways. From a coaching point of view, I believe that the best way for a person to really progress is by finding the answers themselves. As a coach I try to ask deep questions to really make the individual search for the answer. And by finding the answer themselves, they ultimately buy in to what needs to happen next more, therein more action happens. I believe that once a person takes ownership of their own ideas things can really blossom. From a mentoring point of view I generally work as more of a consultant, guiding the individual using whatever experience I have to assist. Using my own opinion is something that I will do quite often when mentoring, but with coaching, I don’t believe that I should be voicing my opinion, especially when the purpose of coaching is for the individual to uncover their own solutions. Sometimes, although rarely, I will blend the two, but from my experience, coaching is definitely the more powerful.

Damian Culhane

Chief Dragon Tamer

For many years I have had a coach and many mentors, all of whom have contributed valuable insights and guidance that has supported my own personal growth.

The most powerful enlightening experience was when I worked with my coaches on revealing my unconscious pattern. This was mind blowing. After many years of dysfunctional behaviour I finally began to understand how my unconscious ego works and follow a pattern of sabotage. That is impossible to discover on your own and is very enlightening….

I absolutely love working 1:1 with people on revealing their unconscious patterns of sabotage. This is a privilege and transformational….

The pattern will not reveal itself to you and the ego hides your dysfunction behind a complex mask and identity that is impossible to see by the individual working on their own…”

Dexter Moscow

Managing Director – Audeince Dynamics

For me there are very distinct differences between Mentoring and Coaching although in essence the benefits are the same.

A mentor is an individual who has specific knowledge and experience in a particular business or corporate sector. Where, to use the vernacular, they have been there, done it. got the tee shirt and the scars to prove it.

The example today is that a mentor would have seen the impact of a major downturn and has the practical experience of how to  overcome it. With a younger company or individual many would not have met this kind of challenge before. The Mentor can suggest  a clear pathway and tools to resolve financial as well as operational advice. To analyse with the client working practices and processes, make recommendations on hold people accountable to follow through.

A Coach on the other hand focuses on the individual rather than the company and acts as a non-judgemental soundIng board for their fears and challenges. We know that it’s tough at the top and many executives feel stressed and isolated not having an unbiased ear to talk about their problems and aspirations.Often they fear that if they show vulnerability to their colleagues they will appear weak and indecisive.

In my opinion unlike the coaches of old who would sit with tented fingers asking ‘ what do you think you should do”.  Today a coach can be more directive talking through and offering different scenarios to achieve their clients needs. To ask difficult questions and elicit answers that would offer a different perspective. Confidentiality is paramount, trust is essential and resilience is a key attribute in the face of sometimes heated conversations.

Nick Simmonds

Coach – Dynamic Coaching Ltd

The human brain creates neural networks every time you learn something new. It also widens and strengthens a neural network if you repeat an action or a thought. It takes more brain energy to create a new neural network than reusing one previously created.

The brain’s default choice is to reuse a previous thought using less energy in order to keep energy in store in case it’s needed for some unforeseen threat. This is a result of 99.5% of human existence being as Hunter-Gatherers.

Coaching creates a safe environment where you can access new thoughts, creative ideas, and innovative approaches to the challenges you face. In a world that is changing fast and demanding unique solutions to original opportunities, you need to bring your ‘A’ game in terms of thinking.

The benefits are that you utilise the incredible gift of your brain more effectively than ever before.

Tim Rylatt

Managing Director – UK Growth Coach

There are many benefits to coaching, and what they bring will depend on the recipient as much as the coach.

This is because this type of service adapts to match the needs of the audience and helps individuals to progress and change – whatever their starting point may be.

In my role as a business coach I help business owners through a curated mix of education, support and accountability (together called coaching), and I can help them shift mindset, confidence, behaviour and skill at different times.

The outcome of our work together causes a progression in their business from start up, through functional, into growth, and ultimately to exit ready.

For the clients as individuals, the progression is more personal. I see a shift from stressed, anxious, people who often initially lack confidence in their decisions through to decisive, confident and competent leaders.

This demonstrates my key point which is that as a coach I work with people, and it is the effect of that interaction through adapted attitudes, behaviour and aptitude that makes the difference to the companies.

Coaching is about helping people, and enabling THEM to change their situations.

Raf Uzar

Head of Communication and Development, Penteris

We have got to the point in our corporate environment that those who are not investing in effective coaching practices are simply falling behind. There is no simpler way of putting it: if you’re not coaching, your crawling.

Coaching done well can have a tangible impact on a company’s culture by improving employee satisfaction and engagement, promoting teamwork, and enhancing leadership skills.

The stats speak for themselves.

#1 Leadership Skills

A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that organisations experienced a 72% improvement in leadership skills. On the other hand, the Human Capital Institute (HCI) showed that 70% of companies with coaching programmes reported improvements in leadership skills, and the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School found that 85% of executives who received coaching reported an increase in their self-awareness.

#2 Improved Relationships with Colleagues

A study by the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School also found that 85% of executives who received coaching reported improved relationships with colleagues. In a survey by Right Management, 83% of organisations reported improved relationships between employees as a result of coaching programmes.

#3 Increased Motivation and Positive Work Environment

The Center for Creative Leadership ran a study which found that organisations experienced a 88% improvement in teamwork and communication whereas the Human Capital Institute (HCI) reported that 61% of organisations saw increased employee engagement as a result of coaching.

#4 Improved Productivity

A report put together by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) demonstrated that 78% of organisations that had coaching programmes reported improved productivity.

#5 Improved Job Satisfaction

The Center for Creative Leadership also found that organisations and companies experienced a 48% improvement in job satisfaction whereas a report published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 76% of organisations using coaching programmes registered improved job satisfaction.

If these five-star improvements were not enough, then it is also worth mentioning that coaching pays for itself in the long run. According to a survey by the International Coach Federation (ICF), 87% of organisations reported a return on investment of 5 to 7 times the initial outlay.

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