mentoring and coaching

Workplace Mentoring and Coaching: Develop and Keep Your Talent

Our guest expert for this post is Sofia Arisheh, Principal at Upskill Consulting.

“Turnover Tsunami,” “Resignation Boom,” and “The Great Resignation.” Retaining talent has become paramount for organizations across industries and as leaders, we must “build the kind of work environment that attracts, focuses, and keeps talented employees.” (Marcus Buckingham, “First Break All the Rules: What the Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently”).

Workplace mentoring and coaching are ways to develop your employees’ skills, confidence, engagement levels, and performance. All of this while also helping to build stronger workplace connections and company culture.

“Coaching is the single most important part of expanding others’ capabilities … good leaders regard every encounter as an opportunity to coach.” (Larry Bossidy and Ram Chran, “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done”)

“I don’t have time!”

“It’ll be faster if I get it done myself!”

“There are more important things to focus on!”

Sound familiar? Amidst this challenging labour market, organizations have understood the tremendous power and benefits of putting people first and providing them with an environment where they can learn, grow and develop. The benefits to workplace mentoring and coaching are expansive:

  • Retention rates were higher for both mentees (22% more) and mentors (20% more) than for employees who did not participate in a mentoring program. (Forbes)
  • Millennials planning to stay with their employer for more than five years are twice as likely to have a Mentor (Forbes)
  • 79% of millennials believe mentorship programs are crucial to their career success. (Deloitte)
  • 71% of Fortune 500 companies have a structured and formalized mentoring program. (Forbes)
  • 77% of companies said mentoring programs increased retention. (Forbes)

When delivering training on mentoring and coaching to organizations, one question I often ask is ‘Why is mentoring important for you, your people, and your company?”. Their answers are below:

While there is alignment and a clear understanding of the importance of mentoring, we continue to choose to spend our time and focus on other areas of the business. Investing time in mentoring and coaching does not have to be formalized. It’s the everyday interactions that can be seized as opportunities to connect with, support, and guide your people.

A good mentor:

  • Invests the time
  • Assists with the growth and development of others
  • Shares stories, experiences, and knowledge
  • Guides, advises, coaches, role models, challenges, and encourages
  • Sets clear goals
  • Follows-up on progress
  • Provides honest feedback

To begin to embed mentoring and coaching into your day-to-day conversations, start with these two tips:

Be inquisitive, ask questions

Questions can be powerful and successful leaders ask the right questions. The approach is … talk less, ask more!

Rather than giving an answer or telling a team member what they ought to do, a strong leader asks the right questions to help them discover the answer themselves. When a team member feels empowered to make decisions, problem-solve and navigate their challenges, there’s heightened accountability for their performance.

Below are some powerful open-ended questions you can begin to introduce into your conversations (whether in your formal mentoring meetings or informal conversations):

  • What is the most important thing for us to focus on?
  • Of all the things that we could talk about, what will give you the most value? What has happened lately that makes this an important topic?
  • Where are you now in relation to your goals?
  • Over the last week/month/quarter, what were your greatest wins/challenges?
  • How would you like to develop yourself this upcoming year? What specific skills/competency areas would you like to develop?
  • What specific actions will help you achieve these goals?
  • What will your first steps be? When will you start?
  • How will you stay focused on your goals and plans?
  • Who can support you in moving forward? Who can help hold you accountable?
  • When should we touch base on this again?
  • What would you like from me in terms of accountability?
  • How can I support you?

Provide and solicit feedback

Coaching and mentoring is a two-way street. It’s the role of the leader to give advice and feedback but also to solicit it. To ensure that your team member is getting the support and guidance they need, ask them what they need more of or less of.

Ask them for their feedback in the conversation, at the end of a meeting, or even through a quick quarterly survey. You could ask three simple questions:

  • What would you like me to continue doing?
  • What would you like me to start doing?
  • What would you like me to stop doing?

Mentoring and coaching are strategic tools directly correlated to business success. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mentoring or coaching. However you choose to embed mentoring and coaching into your organization, find what’s right for you to begin to create meaningful connections with your employees, drive performance, build a stronger workplace culture and support the professional and personal achievement of your people.

About Upskill Consulting

At Upskill Consulting, we understand that the moment your business starts expanding is also the moment you get to a tipping point with your people. Without the right training, development and HR processes and practices, you can quickly feel like you’re in over your head.

That’s where we come in. For more than 15 years, Sofia Arisheh from Upskill Consulting has been serving growing companies with training, consulting, and HR services. We roll up our sleeves and get to know your business and your people so we can offer you custom services that fit your specific needs.

Don’t get caught up in cookie-cutter training or HR forms that don’t solve the problem. Our team has helped business after business streamline and strengthen their HR and people processes and practices that keep them legally compliant, support their growth with HR strategies, and deliver custom training that makes a difference. To learn more about our training programs, visit

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.