What do we mean by coaching and mentoring approaches

The literature on mentoring and coaching is vast but essentially, they share common ground and work along the same continuum of professional support from non-directive (coaching) to directive (mentoring).

Coaching spectrum

A non-directive coaching approach works from the basis that the person who is seeking help and support also holds the answers. Mentoring often involves working with a more experienced colleague and gaining from their knowledge and experience.

This continuum can perhaps be exemplified in a school-based context through the experiences of a provisionally registered teacher in their induction year. At the start of the first term, the teacher may need to call upon the mentoring skills of their supporter and the school team. Those colleagues can pass on their knowledge and provide solutions to issues as they present themselves. Later in the school year, the teacher and their supporter would move towards a stronger coaching approach. At this point, the supporter can help the teacher to draw upon their growing experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to look for solutions to issues as they present themselves. This would look very similar in most education settings.

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