Coaching and Mentoring

Measuring the Coaching Culture

Co-coaching and Co-mentoring Guidelines

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Far more literature, development opportunity and tools are available for developing coaching skills and yet for coaching to reach its impact potential it needs to  be ‘in the muscles’ of the organisation. This page, and the links provided, relate to creating a culture of coaching within an organisation. Much of the information appearing here comes from or has been influenced by the work of Davids, Clutterbuck and Megginson, particularly from their book ‘Making Coaching Work‘ CIPD 2005. Sample chapter (external link to CIPD)

The authors put forward a model for developing a culture of coaching that will encourage, organically, the development of the organisation in parallel with the development of individuals.

1. Coaching linked to business drivers
i. Integrate coaching into strategy, measures and processes
ii. Integrate coaching and high performance
iii. Coaching has a core business driver to justify it
iv. Coaching becomes the way of doing business

2. Being a coachee is encouraged and supported
i. Encourage and trigger being a coachee
ii. You can challenge your boss to coach
iii. Extensive training for both coach and coachee
iv. External coaches used to give coaches experience of being coached

3. Provide coach training
i. Integrate coach training for all
ii. Coaches receive feedback on their use of coaching
iii. After their training coaches are followed up
iv. Coaches are accredited, certified or licensed

4. Reward and recognise coaching
i. People are rewarded for knowledge sharing
ii. Coaching is promoted as an investment in excellence
iii. Top team are coaching role models (who seek and use feedback)
iv. Dedicated coaching leader

5. Systemic perspective
i. Assume people are competent
ii. Organic, not process driven
iii. Initiatives decentralised
iv. Constructive confrontation

6. The move to coaching is managed
i. Senior group manages move to coaching
ii. Line takes responsibility for coaching culture
iii. Integrate coaching and culture change
iv. Coaching supports delegation and empowerment

Source ‘Making Coaching Work’, Clutterbuck, D, and Megginson, D, CIPD, 2005

Coaching Presuppositions 
From this model it is possible to draw some presuppositions about a coaching culture:

  • Coaching is directly connected to and is a major facilitator of change
  • A belief that individuals themselves (and/or teams) have the resources to resolve problems and grasp opportunities or can get access to those resources
  • Coaching is an effective mechanism to engage an individual’s (and or team’s) resourcefulness
  • Coaching embodies the values of empowerment, open and honest communication, high trust and promotes equality and diversity
  • Coaching is concerned with releasing potential and its focus is to take someone (or a team) BEYOND the point from which they started to one that produces a significant and consistently applied contribution
  • Coaching releases creativity and innovation and fosters self awareness, self management and motivation
  • Coaching provides support WITHOUT removing responsibility

(Taken from the 2007 UPA Conference, ‘Creating a Coaching Culture’ workshop, presented by Vincent Cornelius, DMU)

The book also provides a questionnaire to measure progress towards a coaching culture and this has been reproduced here (with permission from David Megginson)   Questionnaire – Measure Progress Toward a coaching Culture (Word doc)

Authentic Leadership – A model of Leadership that compliments the concept of a culture coaching

In his book ‘Leadership Coaching’ Graham Lee (CIPD 2003) introduces a model for ‘Authentic Leadership‘ (p15). He uses a four-quadrant circle to define task/people-focused and individual/organisational development aspects of authenticty in leadership.The four quadrants are labelled: Self-Awareness, Motivational Leadership, Business Leadership and Skills and capabilities.

Self awareness is  the People focus and Individual Development quadrant. It encapsulates the models around Emotional Intelligence and focus is on how self-aware and self-confident the leader is, how well the leader manages emotions and is able to be self motivating.

Motivational Leadership is the People focus and Organisational Development quadrant. It covers understanding and developing others and inspiring trust and commitment in them; it is about authenticity in the way relationships are managed.

Business Leadership is the Task focus and Organisational Development quadrant. It covers influencing strategy, managing complexity and managing change and  also relates to the leader’s organisational awareness.

Skills and capabilities completes the circle by providing the Task focus and Individual Development quadrant. It  includes managing priorities (including the difference between ‘important and urgent’), communication skills, team leadership and management and business knowledge.


Here’s a six-stage checklist to help you formulate a co-mentoring partnership:

Making It Happen (People)

1. Start with the question, ‘what would I want from a co-mentor?’ What background, skills and experienece is s/he likely to have; what personal working style and learning style will fit with your own?

2. Ask yourself, ‘what could I offer to a co-mentor? What experience, interests and project/service responsibilities do you have that you could meaningfully offer; how motivated are you to share ideas and create opportunities that would develop both your co-mentor and yourself?

3. Think about your existing set of contacts within your networks. Have you already met another staff developer who you could envisage working with easily and effectively? Do you already know of someone who is ‘like minded’ but who could potentially create some serendipity of thought and action with you?

Making It Happen (Place)

4. Reflect on the value of a complementary organisational context. Would it be more appropriate if your co-mentor came from a similar type/size of university or could you maximise the learning by choosing an HEI with a different culture and profile?

5. Consider the practical aspects of location and access. Are there any geographical constraints or enablers that would facilitate occasional face-to-face contact with a co-mentor? Do the rail and road connections from your own university point to an obvious choice of local/regional HEI or do cheap flights make it feasible to cast the net wider within the UK?

6. Review the potential shortlist of HEIs identified so far. Would there be any particular opportunities to establish collaborative projects or undertake benchmarking with any one of these universities? Could you create some organisational synergy as a spin-off benefit from a co-mentoring link?

Once you have reflected on the answers to this personal checklist challenge yourself with some further questions. ‘Am I motivated enough to invest the time in a co-mentoring relationship?’ ‘Am I interested enough to help someone develop and am I open-minded about learning from the experience myself?’ ‘ Realistically, will I have the commitment and energy to make it happen?’

If the answers to these supplementary questions are all ‘yes’ then combine the people and place elements to identify an ideal co-mentor to match your own circumstances. Good luck!

Wilkie, Bradshaw and Megginson, 2004, ‘Co-mentoring within the Staff Development Community‘, HESDA Briefing Paper 119.


Useful Coaching and Mentoring Links

Good Practice

GoodPractice provide toolkits for over 200 of the UK’s leading organisations, higher education institutions and public sector bodies.

Coaching and Mentoring

European Mentoring and Coaching Council

Association for Coaching (AC)

360 Feedback

The University of Wolverhampton, in partnership with LFHE and independent LFHE Associates, very successfully uses 360 feedback in its internal Leadership Development Programme. See the related leaflet The Innovative Use of Questionnaires to Support the Development of Leaders and Managers in HE.

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