Coaching and Mentoring Policy

What's the difference between a mentor and a coach? 
The benefits of coaching and mentoring at Aberystwyth University. 
Formal mentoring within the context of professional development (Academic Promotions / Research / ECS)
Responsibilities of the mentee / coachee
Equality Impact Assessment 

1. Introduction

Coaching and mentoring are very effective development methods to assist individuals to reflect, identify and achieve their goals and support the transfer of learning into the workplace. The learning relationships that develop through coaching and mentoring help support individuals to develop their skills and knowledge for the University. They provide powerful learning methods to support staff in a way that is timely and specific.

This policy outlines the University’s framework for formal and informal coaching and mentoring at Aberystwyth. Coaching and mentoring are intended to be positive methods of encouraging and developing staff to unlock their potential to maximise their own performance.

2. Scope

The coaching and mentoring function at Aberystwyth adopts the following 3 streams:

  • Formal mentoring – for employees going through the Academic Promotions process, Research activity and ECS Process
  • For employees, when agreed as part of the annual Staff Development and ECS process
  • Informal mentoring – available to all employees
  • Informal coaching – available to all employees.

3. What’s the difference between a mentor and a coach?

The skills to be a mentor and a coach are very similar such as listening, effective questioning and supporting. The differences between the two are:

  • Mentoring is undertaken by someone who has in-depth knowledge of the mentee's field, and is likely to be directive in terms of support and advice. Mentoring also provides more general support to build confidence and capabilities to meet current and future developmental needs. For this reason, mentoring is usually a longer term relationship than coaching and can last between six and eighteen months.
  • Coaching is done by someone who is not necessarily an expert in the coachee's field and the discussions are likely to be non-directive. Coaching is also a short term intervention of a few sessions and aims to provide support to enhance performance and is usually based around a particular task or objective.

4. The Benefits of coaching and mentoring at Aberystwyth University

The benefits of coaching and mentoring include:

  • Providing a timely and structured learning and development opportunity based on the specific needs of the employee and delivered at their own pace
  • Improving confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased motivation to take action
  • Developing the individual’s own understanding of the University context and processes.
  • Developing new insights and ways of working
  • Providing an opportunity to receive safe and supportive feedback
  • Providing an opportunity for employees to reflect on and plan their career development.

5. Formal mentoring within the context of professional development (Academic Promotions/Research/ECS process)

Mentoring can be stand-alone developmental intervention or can be very useful for supporting other developmental activity such as leadership and management programmes. Mentoring can be identified by the line-manager and / the employee and can be part of a number of outcomes from the annual ECS process. Mentors are allocated to staff who express an interest in making an application under the Academic Promotions process.

All mentors must:

  • Undertake the ‘coach & mentor’ Panopto training and commit to on-going development following the initial training
  • Make the initial contact with the mentee
  • Ensure a commitment to the relationship over an agreed timescale
  • Deal professionally with any conflicts that may arise.

6. Informal Coaching and Mentoring

All line managers have a responsibility to develop their people and teams and the university expects managers to explore mentoring and/or coaching management styles as part of their day to day management responsibilities. Line managers who wish to coach or mentor staff will therefore be required to:-

  • Undertake the ‘coach & mentor’ Panopto training and commit to on-going development following the initial training
  • Make the initial contact with the relevant coachee/mentee
  • Offer the opportunity for all their team members to explore coaching or mentoring and advise on ways in which this can be achieved either with the line manager or another member of staff who has undertaken the training.

7. Responsibilities of the mentee / coachee

  • In most situations obtain agreement to participate from the line-manager to meet with the mentor/coach
  • Set the agenda and purpose of the relationship with the mentor/coach
  • Maintain commitment to the relationship.

8.Responsibilities of the Line-manager

  • Ensure that mentees and coachees are supported during the process
  • Respect the confidential nature of the relationship.


To become an AU mentor/coach, you must complete the Panopto ‘Coaching and Mentoring’ training. Opportunities to develop coaching and mentoring skills further will be possible by attending the Centre for Development of Staff and Academic Practice Effective Leadership course.

10.Equality Impact Assessment

The University is committed to embedding the Equality Scheme into its policies, procedures and practices. This policy has been equality impact assessed in accordance with this scheme.

Policy Review

Human Resources will co-ordinate a review of this policy in order to maintain compliance with legislation and good practice. The review will be undertaken in liaison with the recognised trade unions and any proposed amendments will be submitted to the appropriate relevant committee, University Executive and Council if required.

Version 1.1

Last Reviewed: June 2015

Review Date: June 2018