With our next group coaching programme due to begin in the new year, I spoke with executive coach Julia Whitney to help unpick this. She's led our Leading Design retreats and runs our popular Group Executive Coaching Programmes so she was the perfect person to talk to.

Looking over the shoulders of people organising cards on a table.
Part of a group activity at our Norway retreat.

Julia explained that there is an important difference between coaching and mentoring. A trainer or mentor will often tell you what to do and how to do it. A coach, on the other hand, serves as your thinking partner.

Mentoring offers you the wisdom of someone else's experience. But what worked for your mentor may not be right for you. Your context and set of colleagues is different, and so is your unique set of skills and strengths.

Coaching works with the belief that you are the expert on yourself and your context. Coaching supports you to develop approaches that work uniquely well for you. In the process you grow more and more confident of your own resourcefulness.

Coaching increases self-awareness, but also expands your repertoire of behaviours. You take concrete actions back into your workplace. Part of what makes it work so well is the accountability you feel to do the actions you committed to at the last session.

What experiences have you had with coaching and mentoring? What about either of them has worked particularly well for you? I’d love to know your thoughts. Please do get in touch.

Our next cohort will begin in January 2023 and will run bi-weekly for five sessions, ending in March. To find out more and grab one of our last few spots, you can do so here.

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