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How to combine mentoring and coaching to get the best out of staff


A recent study published in the journal Sustainability found that a combined program of mentoring and coaching employees is an effective way of improving organizational commitment and work performance.

It found that improvements tended to be greater when there was a good match between the expertise of the coach or mentor and those of the individual employee. Used together, individuals can become fully aligned with the values and goals of an organization, resulting in better outcomes across the board.

Management coaching

Management coaching is a form of development where a manager facilitates an employees’ learning in order to encourage the development of a high-performance work environment.


Mentoring is more focused on in-work development and is generally carried out by a more experienced employee.

Where a management coach will normally be a line manager or supervisor, a mentor can be from another part of the organization, as long as the employee can identify with them and they have the right skills.

Organizational commitment

Organizational commitment is the level of attachment to an organization an individual feels. Commitment occurs when the individual is fully aligned with the values and goals of the organization. High levels of organizational commitment is an excellent predictor of performance, engagement, good citizenship behaviors and lower employee turnover.

How it works together

When executed properly, management coaching forms a sort of social exchange between management and staff, which tends to enhance the bond between the employee and the organization. Usually, the employee will see that time and effort is being invested in them and that the organization is in touch with them, helping them to develop professionally. This usually leads to a greater commitment to the organization.

Mentoring has a similar impact. It shows that the organization is investing in an employee and also helps the employee identify where their role is leading. They can see the path ahead, which helps create a sense of progression, identity, confidence and self-worth. Identification between coach/coachee and mentor

The study found that combined mentoring and coaching programs can significantly improve organizational commitment and performance where the mentor, coach and coachee have similar backgrounds and jobs. This form of functional identification with the coach and mentor helps to develop professional relationships and enhance performance. Generally speaking, someone in an administrative role, such as accounting or HR, wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit for someone who works on a production line.

Research concluded that while a combined coaching and mentoring program can be very good for the organization overall, it only works if there are matches between the needs of the employee and the background of the coach or mentor. Random matches can actually be counterproductive and end up reducing the effectiveness of coaching and mentoring.


Woo, H. R. (2017). Exploratory Study Examining the Joint Impacts of Mentoring and Managerial Coaching on Organizational Commitment. Sustainability, 9(2), 18. doi:10.3390/su9020181

Disclaimer: This is a research review and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment, interpretation and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study that is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right is copyright Oxford Review Enterprises Ltd. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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