Coaching and mentoring for business professionals

There are various benefits in coaching and mentoring, to both parties.

Discover the market size, costs, return on investment, coaching contracts, how to find a coach or mentor, and finally how to train to be a coaching professional.

What are coaching and mentoring, and how do they differ?

The main difference is that coaching is for a fixed period whereas mentoring is a more ongoing relationship. There are other differences which are explored in more detail below.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) make a distinction between coaching, mentoring and counselling. Although the processes are similar they can be delivered by individuals who have different qualifications and relationships with their client.

Their factsheet, coaching and mentoring, shows what coaching and mentoring are and the differences between them; it introduces some of the issues and gives guidance on how to tackle them; and explains the role HR plays in managing coaching activities.

The Coaching and Mentoring Network goes into detail in What are coaching and mentoring?, providing an analysis of the similarities and differences between them and the different types of coaching and mentoring which are available. Finally, coaching and mentoring are contrasted with traditional forms of training.

Benefits of coaching and mentoring

The CIPD have published a survey – Making the case for coaching – Does it work? – which contains useful statistical information on the benefits of coaching in an easy to read format.

The Association for Coaching is to publish a report showing that career coaching can save a business 1.5 times the employee’s salary as a return on investment (ROI). Also mentioned on their website, the ‘Kotter and Heskett Harvard Business School Study 2004’ shows companies using performance enhancement coaching have expanded Revenue Growth 520%, Employment Growth 246%, and Net Income Growth 755% compared to companies without it. They also mention the ‘Manchester University Study Maximising the Benefit of Executive Coaching 2011’ shows a ROI of 5.7 times the amount spent. The same study showed improved Business Relationships of 74% and Teamwork 67%, and Job Satisfaction 61%.

According to ‘Mentoring Me’ a successful relationship depends on What to expect from your mentor and being clear on what the mentor can and cannot do.

Why every small business owner should spare time for a mentor – an article from the Start-Up Donut, provides some statistics such as “70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs”.

Executive coaching and mentoring

The IoD Executive Coaching service is a useful service for business leaders; they explain the various benefits of executive coaching:

The benefits to the individual:

  • Preparation for role/career changes and joining the board
  • Managing stress, change, conflict or crisis
  • Enhancing personal impact and performance

The benefits to the organisation:

  • Greater commitment from directors and senior managers
  • Retention of key people who feel valued
  • More creative outlook in business planning
  • Improved management of other staff

Coaching Skills for Directors courses are also available from the IoD.

Costs and Return on Investment

The CIPD has produced a factsheet on Costing and benchmarking learning and development, which discusses how costing for L&D is “based on a calculation of the direct financial costs incurred (for example, course fees), sometimes together with an assessment or estimate of the indirect costs involved (such as management time spent on coaching or mentoring, or employee time participating in learning or training)”.

The Coaching and Mentoring Network has published papers on Calculating the return on investment from executive coaching and the Association for Coaching produced a paper on Measuring value in coaching.

Coaching and Mentoring Market Size

The CIPD survey – Learning and development 2015 PDF – states the following:

  • “Coaching and mentoring are common – three-quarters of organisations currently offer coaching or mentoring and an additional 13% plan to offer it in the next year. Most expect to increase their use of coaching.

Training to be a coach/mentor or finding one to help you

The Association of Business Mentors (ABM) is the trade body that champions professional business mentoring across the UK. It is the only organisation that recognises credible, professional business mentors through its strict application process.

The Association for Coaching is an independent and not-for-profit professional body promoting best practice in this sector. It has a freely available membership directory for coaches, coaching providers and coaching supervisors. It has a ‘Research’ page which contains useful information on this sector.

Coaching and Mentoring Network is an international network and is useful for finding a coach/mentor, or alternatively advice on becoming one. There are free information resources about coaching and mentoring.

The Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL) is the UK’s professional body for trainers and L&D Professionals. In the year 2000 the UK government granted it ‘Institute’ status. It offers a ‘Certificate in Coaching’ and ‘Train the Trainer’ qualifications.

Mentors Me is an organisation set up by the government and leading banks designed to help SMEs to access Mentoring services. It also allows providers of Mentoring Services to register providing they meet certain quality standards. An online Library allows researchers to look at case studies and other material on the benefits of mentoring. Businesses across the UK can now access one-to-one support through a national network of 27,000 mentors. This includes 15,000 volunteer mentors who have joined the 12,000 mentors already available through 115 mentoring organisations.

Need for a legal contract

The Coaching and Mentoring Network has an article on the Need for coaching contract and what it should include.

Mentoring arrangements tend to be less formal so a need for a contract is less essential. However, a contract for business and executive coaching is strongly recommended.

Coaching and mentoring – The IoD member view

The IoD Information and Advisory Service (IAS) often receives information requests from IoD members considering a career in coaching. The IAS spoke with coach and IoD member Phuong Skovgaard, who described the challenges in getting started in the profession, and what new entrants can expect. Phuong’s observations on setting prices and the sometimes blurred line between coaching and mentoring are of particular relevance to new solo practitioners.

How long have you worked as a coach?

Phuong Skovgaard (PS) – Nearly seven years. I’m an engineer by education and spent a lot of my early career in project management – useful skills to have when you are helping someone else to take an organised view of their issues and aspirations.

What are the main qualities needed in an effective coach or mentor?

PS – The first thing to say is that the division between coaching and mentoring can be difficult to maintain, especially in start-up situations where the effectiveness and efficiency of the business depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of the business founder. You deal with the whole person, so aspects from their personal lives may be impacting their professional performance, and vice versa. A genuine desire to help others is essential – and you must be able to deliver that help in a structured way.

Was it difficult to get started?

PS – It was difficult to get started, because I had to understand my style and accept that not everyone appreciates my style – I help people to make plans and commit to them. Even though the market is competitive, I had to stick to my own approach, otherwise I couldn’t get to the root cause of the client’s issue.

What advice do you have on pricing a coaching service?

PS – The rate has to reflect your ability and also command the respect of the client. Someone looking to make a profound change in their life, or take a major step forward in their career, should not just be looking for the lowest bidder.

Do have a particular approach?

PS – I do not provide a packaged answer to an issue. My task is to get my client to think and act in an organised way which then provides the answer. I use structure a lot – encouraging clients to organise and plan their way to success, with progress marked by set milestones.

What issues should a new coach be aware of?

PS – Cancellations can be a real problem. I always prepare thoroughly before a session, so a last-minute cancellation is very frustrating. I always use contracts when establishing a coaching relationship – if the client is serious about themselves, this will not be an issue for them. You want serious clients.

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