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Coaching and Mentoring Strategies

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

You can use a number of strategies to ensure you coach and mentor employees in an effective manner.

Build a connection

A crucial first step in establishing any coach or mentor relationship is to make the coachee or mentee feel safe and comfortable. This means you need to establish an authentic connection. And remember: first impressions last! So make a determined effort to create a positive connection from the outset.

To help you do this, greet clients warmly and personally with a firm and warm handshake. Introduce yourself and check to make sure the client picked your name up correctly.

Begin with a human connection. Make small talk to show that you are not a threat to their safety. Light banter and humility go a very long way to establishing a strong connection. As humility is grounded in vulnerability, this allows the coach or mentor to come across as the ‘real’ person and open the way for an authentic connection.

Also, maintain a relaxed and open posture. Use your body language to signal interest, concern, and so on. For example, lean in towards the client to indicate interest.

Recognize the client's strengths

Your role as a coach or mentor is to assist your clients in reaching their full potential. As everyone has a set of inherent strengths, whether recognized or not, you must identify, extract, and build upon your client’s strengths.

Earn the client's trust

After all, the coaching or mentoring process is a high-trust relationship, whereby both parties need to be open. The coachee or mentee needs to feel confident enough to share their goals and concerns. Building any trusting relationship takes time and patience. A coachee or mentee will probably not open up to you until you have spent some time with them. You have to first ‘prove’ that you can be trusted with their confidences.

Aim high

And expect your clients to do the same. It is similar to delegation, when you always delegate a task slightly above the ability of a person, to make them strive to be successful. You can build up confidence in the coachee or mentee to reassure them that their course of action is achievable, even though they may encounter pitfalls and roadblocks. The best part about aiming high is that when success is achieved, you are then in a position to celebrate that success with the client. You can use this success for its learning value by pointing out that the client now knows “what success feels like”. And they should strive going forward to replicate this feeling as often as possible.

Listen actively

Indeed, this is essential in any coaching or mentoring relationship. Too often, the coach or mentor is impatiently waiting for their turn to talk or thinking about what to say next, instead of truly listening to their client and viewing them, and what they have to say, with interest.

Active listening is a four-step process. First, truly listen to the person and be seen to listen by your body language. Next, feed-back the content and feeling of the person’s words. Third, confirm you heard the person correctly. And finally, ask a relevant follow-up question to further clarify your understanding of their situation.

Build rapport

To do this, pay attention to the overall body shape of your client. Roughly copy or emulate it. Then, after a few minutes of conversation, lead your client by shifting your posture and see if they follow your gesture. If they copy you - success!  Rapport has now been built and you can intensify the conversation or ask a tough question. If they do not copy your gesture, revert back to their current body stance and try again later.

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Bill Phillips and Kevin J Reid

Bill Phillips is an International Facilitator, Trainer, and Team Coach.

  • Has successfully coached CEOs, board members, directors, executive teams, and team leaders in public and private companies, NGOs, and UN organizations in 15 countries across four continents
  • Is the creator of Future-basing®, a highly potent process for building strategy, vision, and cooperation
  • Inspires people to build excellent interpersonal relationships and achieve their goals

In this module, Bill is the instructor for the ‘Leading With Emotional Intelligence’, 'How to Delegate to Your Team', and 'Providing Effective Feedback' lessons.


Kevin Reid is CEO of Personal Skills Training, Senior Coach at Kevin J Reid Coaching, Co-founder and Communications Director of The Counsel.ie, and Lead Collaborator of LeitrimMade.com.

  • A consummate and skillful international communications trainer, facilitator, and coach
  • Has over 15 years of learning development experience with individuals, teams, and entire organizations
  • Has facilitated communications workshops and training across numerous sectors in Ireland, the UK, Europe, America, and Africa

In this module, Kevin is the instructor for the ‘Coaching and Mentoring’ lesson.

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

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Building Effective Teams
Bill Phillips and Kevin J Reid
Skills Expert

As a leader, you will only be as successful as the people who work with you. So it makes sense to build the best, most effective teams possible, and get the most out of your daily interactions with colleagues.  

This module will introduce you to the concept of emotional intelligence – a skill that should be in every leader’s toolkit. Emotional intelligence can help you enhance your working relationships at all levels, and you should aim to practice it every day in the workplace.

You will also learn about coaching and mentoring – and how these two activities can bring out the best in your employees.

In addition, you will learn about delegation. How can you delegate successfully? What tasks should you delegate? And how can you ensure you get the best results? The lesson on delegation provides you with the answers.

Finally, the module also looks at feedback, and explains why leaders should never be afraid to provide it – even when the feedback is negative.