If you’re not sure of the difference between coaching and mentoring, visit the mentoring and coaching page

Coaching is 'Unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.' (Whitmore)

Coaching is a confidential process which aims to help you discover how to address your challenges; develop greater self-awareness; identify goals and potential barriers; develop appropriate skills and strategies and feel empowered to take action. If you have management/leadership responsibilities, this may result in enhancing your ability to lead and communicate with others.

Coaching can help in these scenarios:

  • Talented staff with potential can be developed ahead of time
  • Support in improving skills, working relationships; managing conflict; dealing with underperformance
  • Can generate ‘creative reflective space’ which fosters innovative thinking
  • Can help build resilience of individual and their team
  • Improve coachee's ability to relate to and influence others; to manage his/her time or how s/he comes across.

"13 myths about coaching" is useful for anyone considering coaching support and explains why coaching is not the right solution for everyone all of the time.

Coaching normally involves four 90 - 120 minute meetings, one every 3 - 6 weeks, arranged at a mutually convenient time for coach and coachee and set up from the start. The meetings are usually completed within 6 months and although coaching relationships can vary in length, it is not anticipated to extend past 12 months. After a few sessions, coach and coachee will review progress towards the coachee’s goals and agree if more than 4 sessions are needed.

People Development maintain a register of approved Executive Coaches who have been vetted, are suitably accredited, with excellent references. We provide a brokerage service to help individuals source the most suitable external coach. The costs of the coach are usually paid by the College or Service and we assume that manager's permission has been gained, as meetings usually (but not always) take place during working hours.

To request an external coach please contact your HR Business Partner in the first instance; they will check any financial requirements and then a member of the People Development team will arrange to meet you to explore:

  • whether coaching is the best method to achieve your goal
  • your coaching needs and who might be best suited to be your coach.

If you are leading a significant project at the university and are wondering how you might best support project members, you may want to consider whether coaching key individuals or a specific team might be helpful. The first step is to contact Rachel Brewer in People Development to discuss your requirements.

These days it is no longer enough as a manager to be a talented individual or expert. Increasingly in demand are ‘expert individuals’ who are able to develop talent and results from others, but not by increasing the controls on them or by monitoring staff more closely.

Managers need a range of conversational skills and techniques in their ‘toolkit’ to help others develop fully and feel empowered to take responsibility which is where coaching skills comes in. These vital skills are incorporated into many of our longer, management development programmes leading to a qualification, our ‘management know-how’ suite of programmes, and we also run a Coaching Conversations course.