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5 Do’s and Don’ts of Mentoring and Coaching skills for Managers who feel detached from their teams.

When you applied for or were promoted into a managerial position, you never thought managing teams would be so difficult. You can have a team with exactly the right mix of professional skills, and still have a huge problem if they don’t have people skills. What is even scarier is the fact that you, the manager of this team, who is supposed to teach and lead them, feel totally detached from the team. You are so eager to develop this team into the next generation of superheroes, but mentoring and coaching consist of a set of skills you yourself are still mastering.

It was Junot Diaz who said: “Colleagues are a wonderful thing – but mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.”

Mentoring – from the Greek word meaning enduring – is defined as a sustained relationship between an employee and a trusted advisor. Through continued involvement, the mentor offers support, guidance, and leadership as the apprentice aka the mentee, goes through a difficult period, faces new challenges, develops skills and grows. Mentoring is generally regarded as the transfer of experience. Coaching– an interaction that focuses on enhancing knowledge and skill.  It is a way of having powerful and meaningful conversations and interactions delivering sustainable change and growth.

To coach or to mentor the individuals in your team is much more than just telling them what to do. It is about working together with them through decision-making, problem-solving, how to adapt to change etc. It is about developing all their soft skills. Consider the following Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to Coaching and mentoring your team. This will assist in bridging that gap. It will also bring you guys closer and help you understand each other better.


  1. Do be yourself. Be real. Building an authentic connection between you and your team members not only means that they will feel comfortable with you as their manager and mentor, but that they will be able to respect and trust you.
  2. Do be friendly. Always greet your team members warmly and stay friendly even when you feel your blood is boiling. Showing them how to deal with conflict and problems will also teach them through your example.
  3. Do ask open-ended questions. Start your conversations with open-ended questions to motivate team members to engage and respond. If you do this as a coach, they will feel heard.
  4. Do earn their trust. Building your team’s trust takes time and patience. Help them. Give credit where it is due. Practice empathy and be transparent when communicating feedback and making hard decisions.
  5. Do lift them up through concentrating on their strengths. Breaking them down and focusing on their weaknesses will not help matters. Focus on boosting their strengths. Help them see their strengths and teach them how to build on those.


  1. Don’t lose your cool.Take deep breaths and practice what works for you to calm yourself. Screaming matches and an uncomfortable atmosphere will drive a wedge between you and your team members.
  2. Don’t get blindsided.Create a comfortable environment where, even if the team member made a mistake or upset a customer, they feel comfortable enough to come to you and explain the situation. If they admit it was their fault, you are given an opportunity right there to coach and mentor them for the next difficult situation they are faced with.
  3. Don’t leave them.Constantly align them with their goals and objectives. Help them stay on the right pathway by reminding them what they are working towards. Give regular constructive feedback and advice.
  4. Don’t over promise and under deliver.Making promises which you can’t keep doesn’t help with your efforts to build trust and a comfortable open-door policy. Through this you will coach your team in the art of ‘staying true to your word’ which will make them respect you and give them faith in you.
  5. Don’t ignore their needs. Each team member is an individual before they are an employee. This makes each one unique with a different set of needs and personal goals. Take the time to understand each person for who they are. What makes them tick? This will assist you with coaching and mentoring that person according to what motivates them.

Corporate Coaching and Mentoring of your team is so important because you don’t just want team members to become better at their jobs, you want them to grow and take the team forward to reach higher goals. Team members, in turn, feel invested in and will go the extra mile.

This Coaching and Mentoring training course will equip leaders with the tools to implement a mentoring and coaching approach to help unlock potential, reinforce strengths and counteract any negative behaviour, all with the aim of maximising the individual’s performance.

The concept and implementation of Mentoring and Coaching of individuals in business have grown significantly in recent years in South Africa as business recognises the increased value of retaining and growing star performers. Regular Mentoring and coaching sessions keep individuals on track in terms of the values, vision and strategy of the business and assist in the development of people in organisations.