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I am passionate about the benefits of coaching and mentoring and, in these post-pandemic yet still turbulent times, believe it can be even more impactful by empowering and enabling individuals and teams to overcome challenges and become the best they can be. But we know that a coaching and mentoring culture is not fully embedded in many UK organisations. 

Definitions of Coaching & Mentoring 

The terms coaching & mentoring are often used interchangeably in the workplace. Whilst they may be used to deliver similar learning and development outcomes, such as enhancing skills, knowledge and performance of individuals and teams, they are recognised as different disciplines. However, taking a blended approach can often provide the greatest rewards to the mentee/coachee. 
Mentoring's purpose is to share the greater knowledge and skills of a more experienced mentor with a less experienced mentee. 
Coaching uses processes and tools to enable the coachee to develop their own answers. The coach does not need to have similar knowledge or experience as the coachee. 
The new Coaching & Mentoring Survey acts as a barometer, gauging the status of business coaching and mentoring. Potentially an annual or bi-annual survey, the first survey was conducted in May 2022. 
The results confirmed the view that, whilst coaching and mentoring is becoming established in many organisations as a learning and development intervention, there is still a long way to go before its potential benefits are fully recognised and embraced by the majority. 
Those who had experienced coaching or mentoring felt they had benefited significantly even if they hadn’t had coaching/mentoring personally, respondents suggested that the ideal scenario would be for coaching and mentoring to be offered to all employees. 

Ensuring success 

The survey highlighted that learning in the set-up such as relationships, delivery, duration, frequency and the need for demonstrating return on investment are fundamentally important to its success, with no significant difference between private and public sector or different business sectors. 
As to the delivery of coaching and mentoring, there is a wide range of ‘deliverers’ from professional coaches/mentors to line managers and peers. Whilst cost is clearly an indicator in deciding who acts as coach/mentor, it is fundamentally important that the quality of delivery is maintained and protected. 
Soundbites: ‘The needs of the coachee should dictate the coach’; ‘Mentoring requires experience’ 
The survey probed more deeply by asking additional questions of those whose role was CEO/HRD, given that these are usually the individuals responsible for the implementation and embedding of a coaching/mentoring culture – there is considerable evidence from a range of other sources that coaching/mentoring is most successful when sponsored by senior leaders in the organisation. 
The challenge of how to prove ROI is going to be a key consideration for anyone considering implementing a coaching and mentoring culture 
A key finding was that, whilst 2/3rds of respondents had considered ROI for a potentially costly intervention – when set-up and ongoing management, potential use of professional coaches/mentors and/or the time taken by internal coaches are considered – a large number had not. If coaching/mentoring is to take its rightful place as a key L&D tool alongside other interventions such as training, consulting and counselling, it will need an assigned budget together with ways of evaluating its effectiveness and justifying its cost, through demonstrating the benefits to both individuals and the organisation. 
The findings from this barometer survey have demonstrated that, whilst coaching/mentoring is widely used as a Learning & Development intervention and that there is no marked difference in its use between business sector or role level, there is clearly a long way to go before it is fully embedded within the majority of UK organisations and offered to all employees, with a number of challenges to overcome along the way. 
About The Author 
Nicki Holmes is a fully qualified and accredited executive mentor and coach, supporting individuals and their teams in becoming the best they can be. She is passionate in her belief of the value of mentoring and the very positive outcomes it can achieve, and is keen to support organisations in setting up and embedding a mentoring culture 
During her executive career as a marketing director and member of the senior leadership team, she gained valuable experience, skills and knowledge in supporting the development of individuals and teams, which she now brings to her coaching and mentoring practice. 
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