What does a mentoring session consist of ?


One of the questions I’m asked most is; “what does a mentoring or coaching session consist of ?”

This is shortly followed by “What exactly happens ?” then sometimes “What is your role, and what do you expect of me ?”

I’ve put together a short description below to give some understanding of what happens and some of the principles I use in mentoring. The ‘you’ and ‘your business’ can be interchangeable dependent on why you have taken up a coaching or mentoring programme. Similarly mentoring and coaching are interchangeable in the description, though they are different in practice.

The main principles of coaching and mentoring

My role as coach is to help you think for yourself. It is NOT to do your thinking for you.

The subjects you bring to the coaching sessions are best explored, addressed and questioned by you. They will not be addressed by my limited knowledge of you, your organisation or other people.

I will offer my own insights, perspectives and frameworks, but only after you have had sufficient time to come up with your own ideas. Your ideas will often be far better than mine. I will only offer my insights if you specifically ask me to. There are no short cuts I’m afraid.

A really successful session is where your answers will be far better than any I could come up with.

My role in these sessions is to use my expertise and behaviour to keep you thinking for yourself through a particular type of constructed questioning, and a particular way of giving you attention to your responses.

Life’s obstacles and hurdles are similar to those of a business. They come from obstacles in your thinking. Things that are untrue, limiting and assumptions. We will examine these areas in detail to overcome and better understand them. In doing so, there are often long silent pauses, or occasionally emotional outcomes. These are all normal reactions and a sign we are making progress.

I will guide my behaviour and responses to look at the positive viewpoint. I will assume you are intelligent, are able to make choices about what you do and how you feel, and are eager to form solutions for both you and others.

What do I need to bring to a coaching / mentoring session ?

The key, is what would you like to achieve in these sessions ? Either for you or your business. What changes would you consider a good outcome of the sessions.

If we are discussing your business or your performance at work, are there areas where perhaps your personal views are not aligned with that of the business or your management/peers ?

Sometimes sessions can have a significantly emotional content. You should consider how you feel as well as noticing some of the more logical signs.

What would be helpful background information for me ? – What can you tell me about you and/or your business, the performance, the people, your interactions with others and particular situations that stand out, even if they don’t necessarily seem connected.

I hope that this description is a helpful insight into coaching. Whilst perhaps a little daunting at first, so many of the people who have sat with me during these sessions have reported improved performance, a feeling of improved well-being and a new-found confidence in dealing with others.

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