Article archive

How mentoring functions have become a dangerous distraction for research and practice in mentoring

16/Mar/2015

When Kathy Kram carried out her seminal research into mentoring at the beginning of the 1980s, she focused on a small number (22) of informal mentoring relationships, taking place within a specific cultural context – educated North Americans. She identified …

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What every HR director should know about coaching and mentoring strategy

07/Mar/2014

Although overall spend on training and development has in many organisations been capped or declined during the recession, coaching and mentoring appear to have at least held their own and actually become a more critical part of the L&D offering …

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Step forward the ethical mentor

04/Oct/2013

Ethical mentoring is a fairly new term, but it’s likely to be one we are going to hear a lot more of. The concept comes from a recognition that unethical and illegal behaviour in organizations rarely happens because an individual …

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The problem with research in mentoring

16/Sep/2013

One of the remarkable aspects of mentoring is how extensively researched the topic has been. However, extensively-researched isn’t the same as well-researched. Having had to trawl through hundreds of papers and a fair pile of dissertations for my own current …

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Where next with research in mentoring?

27/Aug/2013

It would be easy to conclude, from the vast numbers of research papers and studies on mentoring, that the field is pretty well covered. In practice, that’s far from the truth. It’s noticeable, for example, that there are far more …

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Why do we need to train mentees?

12/Apr/2012

One of the most common reasons for mentoring programmes failing is that they forget to train mentees sufficiently. Programmes that train only mentors deliver less than half the benefits, on average, than those that train both participants.

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What makes executive coaches feel valued?

12/Apr/2012

Considering how much organizations pay for the services of executive coaches, it might be expected that the relationship between them would be a partnership, aimed at providing the best possible support for the client. While in some cases, this is …

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The Liberated Coach

12/Apr/2012

This article has its origins in several complementary sources: the personal coaching experiences of both myself and my co-authors in 14 books on coaching and mentoring; the experiences of coaches, who I have supervised; and observation of coaches in real …

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Seven Coaching Conversations

12/Apr/2012

Being an effective coach requires a continuously expanding portfolio of BDQs – (Bloody Difficult Questions). These are what stimulate the client to reflect and gain personal insight. Equally important, however, are the BDQs we ask ourselves. For example: For whose …

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Evaluating Mentoring

12/Apr/2012

One of the paradoxes of formal mentoring programmes is that the essence of the relationship is its informality – the ability to discuss in private a wide range of issues that will help the mentee cope with and learn from …

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Critical issues in succession planning

12/Apr/2012

Current approaches to succession planning are based on assumptions, which are largely unevidenced and insufficiently flexible to meet the demands of adaptive organisations and careers. This chapter highlights some of the issues, which HR needs to address in redesigning succession …

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Creating a Powerful Personal Development Plan

12/Apr/2012

Personal Development Plans can often be “something and nothing” – a paper exercise mandated by HR for line managers and direct reports to undertake as an annual ritual.

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Coach maturity: An emerging concept

12/Apr/2012

Coaching sometimes seems like Keats’ rainbow – the more we try to define it, dissect it, classify it and demystify it, the more we diminish it and lose its essence. One of the concerns both of us have about so …

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Beware the coaching scam?

12/Apr/2012

I recently initiated a furious debate on the web about a coaching technique called EFT, by asking whether there was any evidence to support its remarkable claims. The furore – from both detractors and supporters, with “let’s keep an open …

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A bundle of MDQs

12/Apr/2012

1. What’s the biggest lie you have told yourself recently? 2. What’s the biggest lie you have told to someone else recently?

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Blog archive

Cross mentoring – Mentoring between companies

08/Mar/2017

Most formal mentoring takes place between people within the same organisation, but this isn’t the only possibility. It is hard, for example, to create effective mentoring relationships within small national branch offices – people are often too close and the …

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Working with SUIs (Significant Unresolved Issues)

08/Mar/2017

The concept of Significant Unresolved Issues arose from David Clutterbuck’s unpublished research in the 1990s on what issues mentees brought to their mentors for discussion. Participants in workshops were asked to write down and reflect upon all the issues, about …

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Helping your coachee develop resilience

08/Mar/2017

In challenging working environments, resilience is increasingly an essential competence. People, who are resilient, are better able to cope with unexpected change, with setbacks and disappointments, with high stress environments and with periods of excessive workload. The signs of low …

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Parallel processing in coaching and mentoring

08/Mar/2017

Parallel processing happens when a coach, mentor or therapist reproduces a behaviour or emotion within their client, or more subtly, when they conflate the client’s experiences and issues with their own. It can distort the coaching or mentoring conversation, so …

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Why coaches and mentors shouldn’t beat themselves up when client change doesn’t happen

16/Jan/2017

Every beginner coach or mentor goes through a phase of questioning their own competence, based upon a sense that they could (or should) have had so much more impact. Even very experienced coaches and mentors sometimes feel that they have …

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When to refer a coachee or mentee to professional counselling or therapy

16/Jan/2017

Suggesting to someone else that they need counselling takes courage. As a coach or mentor, you will in most cases not be a qualified therapist – and even if you were, there are potential conflicts of role between mentoring/coaching and …

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What if the coachee says ‘I don’t know’

16/Dec/2016

There comes a point at least once in a coaching conversation, where the coach feels instinctively that the issue is clear enough to pose a powerful question – one that will really make the coachee think and open up new …

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Working with ethical dilemmas

02/Dec/2016

Many of the issues that coaches and mentors encounter can be classified as ethical dilemmas. These occur when a person either feels that they are being asked to do things that are against their moral values, or when they have …

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Helping the coachee or mentee work with anger

02/Sep/2016

While anger is usually seen as an unhelpful emotion, it doesn’t have to be so. Managed anger can be a force for good, and has been a significant factor in every peaceful social change, from the abolition of slavery to …

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Helping the coachee/ mentee develop a wider community of support

02/Sep/2016

One of the most common questions in coaching and mentoring is “Who can you get to support you in achieving this goal?” When people struggle to respond, as is often the case, or feel that they are on their own, …

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Helping the coachee or mentee overcome complacency

02/Sep/2016

An implicit assumption within coaching and mentoring is that the coachee or mentee is motivated to change. That isn’t always the case and even when it is, there is a big difference between externally motivated change (doing something because you …

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Helping the coachee or mentee interpret behaviour

02/Sep/2016

One of the common and dangerous misunderstandings of managers in organisations is called correspondence bias[1]. We tend to assuming that someone else’s behaviour (positive or negative) can be attributed to fixed personality traits (for example, the need to control, or …

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Helping the coachee or mentee pitch an original idea

02/Sep/2016

A common misconception in organisations is that it’s easy to sell a good idea. The reality, as detailed in the book Originals, by Adam Grant, is quite the opposite. Among the misconceptions his and other research identify are that: Good …

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Five modes of questioning

02/Sep/2016

Asking questions is something we do all the time. It’s essential to how we learn, how we keep safe, how we collaborate with other people, how we make decisions, and so on… It’s a core skill of being human, yet …

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Wisdom and mentoring

29/Jul/2016

Development mentoring’s focus on the acquisition of wisdom goes back to the original story of the mentoring relationship between Athena, the Geek Goddess of Wisdom and Odysseus, King of Ithaca and his son, Telemachus. In the guise of Mentor, and …

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