Professional Support

Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring in simple terms can be defined as a relationship between someone who is experienced and someone who is not. The experienced mentor will share with the mentee their lessons learned and any relevant insights that the mentee may benefit from when confronting life or career issues to enhance the mentee’s professional and personal growth.

Coaching is essentially about a dialogue, or conversation, that helps individuals find answers and access what they know; it is about learning and change (Zeus and Skiffington, 2001, p 3). Coaching systems are designed to provide a person with a content expert who works with that individual in assuring that person learns a particular skill or piece of knowledge (goal). Coaching is about skills and knowledge acquisition.

Coaching versus mentoring

The terms “mentoring” and “coaching” are often used interchangeably. However, while both focus on learning and development there are some differences. Coaching is usually seen to have more of an emphasis on performance while mentoring focusses more on personal and professional development. 

A mentor may incorporate coaching techniques but will often share their experience and be able to direct their mentee to relevant resources or to open particular doors.

The main differences tend to be that:

  • mentoring can be more directive
  • a mentor tends to be more experienced than the mentee
  • advice and guidance is often given to support mentee development

(Harris-Worthington, (2009)

Find a Mentor when you want to discuss broad career issues, seek general guidance, or need to clarify development goals, plan your future direction, make decisions or solve problems that are specific to a particular field. Mentoring is useful at major transitions in one’s career, for example:

  • Preparing to step up to a new role
  • Support for the first year as manager of people
  • Making a transition from individual contributor to a team leader

For formal 1:1 mentoring a mentor/mentee relationship is not recommended where there is a direct line of reporting due to potential conflicts of interest.

Get a Coach when you have a well-defined goal that is based on improving specific skills and performance in your current role or you are needing help to define what it is you want to improve. A coach is also useful for raising your self-awareness and confidence; providing 360° assessment feedback and action planning.

“A coach is someone available for the performer to learn WITH”

“A mentor is someone available for the performer to learn FROM”

  1. MacLennon (1995)

(Source: A guide to Mentoring-University of Auckland, 2014)

A guide to Mentoring

This mentoring-guide presents an overarching view of mentoring with accompanying resources and templates.

White Paper: Business case for Mentoring programmes in organisations.

There is a lot of rhetoric claiming “highly effective mentoring programs deliver substantial learning for over 95% of mentees and 80% of mentors”. But is there real evidence to support this and other outcomes for mentees, mentors and their organisations, as a result of mentoring? Download from https://artofmentoring.net/business-for-mentoring-programs-in-organizations

The Art of Mentoring. Free webinars see https://artofmentoring.net/mentoring-webinars



  • Coaching and Mentoring: Theory and Practice by Robert Garvey, Paul Strokes and David Megginson (2010)
  • Coaching and Mentoring by Nigel MacLennan (2017)


Professional Development programmes locally:


  • Mentoring
  • Leadership
  • Coaching

For all these contact Kathy Webb via email kathy@socialink.org.nz

Community Mentoring programme

For information see https://www.communitymentors.org.nz/ or contact locally Gail Hardy at the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce on mentors@tauranga.org.nz


Supervision is an important component of professional practice development that helps to ensure ethical, quality service provision to service users and tangata whaiora who access mental health and social services. Supervision is key to enabling eg. social workers, psychologists, counsellors and others in the field to effectively translate new knowledge into practice.

Supervision involves developing a connection between a supervisor and supervisee in which the supervisor provides support, resources, tools and a safe, confidential space for exploring work issues. The supervision relationship has elements of mentor, coach, advisor and teacher, and maintains a strong balance of mutual respect and accountability.

Read more:  Counselling Supervision: a Guide

Cultural supervision

Cultural supervision is intended to assist to work more effectively with Maori clients and to grow cultural sensitivity and awareness to support increased service delivery for Māori clients.

Read more: A Kaupapa Māori supervision context