Employee driven improvement & innovation: creating opportunities for reflection and improvement

Supporting your employees’ work-life balance by implementing mentoring & coaching sessions


Estimated budget: 50-100€ per hour

What are mentoring and coaching activities?

Mentoring and coaching are both techniques commonly used by management to drive desirable workplace behavior and support the personal and professional growth of employees.

International Mentoring Group (IMG) defines mentoring as, “A process of direct transfer of experience and knowledge from one person to another.” Within a company, a mentor has achieved success within the industry and provides guidance and direction to an low-level employee who may aspire to the position of the mentor.

IMG defines coaching as “a method of achieving set goals.” A coach, who may or may not be a company employee, helps clients achieve specific, immediate goals as defined by the organization.

According to mentoring consulting firm “Management Mentors”, there are 5 key differentiators between mentoring and coaching


Coaching is task oriented, focused on concrete issues, such as managing more effectively, speaking more articulately, and learning how to think strategically. Mentoring is relationship oriented, aimed to provide to employees insights for a professional and personal success. Its focus includes work/life balance, self-confidence, self-perception, and how the personal influences the professional.


Coaching is short term: it lasts for as long as is needed, depending on the purpose of the coaching relationship. Mentoring is always long term and requires time in which both partners can learn about one another and build a climate of trust to share experiences and communicate values.


Coaching is performance driven, as its purpose is to improve the individual’s performance on the job. This involves either enhancing current skills or acquiring new skills. Mentoring is development driven as its purpose is to develop the individual not only for the current job, but also for the future.


Coaching does not require long planification and design and can be conducted immediately on various topics without a long lead-time to implement the program. Mentoring requires a design phase in order to determine the strategic purpose, the focus areas of the relationship, the specific models, and the specific components for durable relationship.


In coaching program, managers often provide the coach with feedback on areas in which an employee is in need of coaching and this information help the development of the coaching process. In mentoring, the immediate manager is indirectly involved as he has no link to the mentor and they do not communicate at all during the mentoring relationship.

How to implement coaching and mentoring activities effectively?


  1. Determine the area for mentoring or coaching.
  2. Agree the overall objectives.
  3. Identify realistic outcomes and devise an action plan to achieve the desired result.
  4. Devise an appropriate mentoring or coaching programme. This might include a secondment, work shadowing or supervised working.
  5. Agree a suitable timescale.
  6. Agree criteria for evaluation, standards and assessment of the programme.

This kind of activities can be performed also online, without requiring suitable rooms or without moving employees.

Necessary human resources

For effective coaching and mentoring activities it is necessary to rely on a qualified external professional.

The mentor is an expert on contents and scenarios capable of transmitting the distillate of skills and competences, beliefs and values, vision and motivation that derives from one’s own experience.

The coach is an expert in change processes capable of supporting the most demanding challenges, of accompanying a manager in that path of full expression of the potential and removal of the obstacles that will lead him to achieve his goals.

Mentor Coaches are able to do both. They are top managers with very long experience and important business success books and, at the same time, expert coaches able to support, both with the contribution of their own experience and the practice of coaching, the challenges of executives.

Skills that managers & employees need to develop in order to implement the WPI

Mentoring and coaching programs might be seen as a ‘management ploy’ and not a method of encouraging individual potential. For mentoring and coaching to be accepted, managers and employees need some personal attitudes:

  • willingness to listen
  • openness to new ideas
  • a lateral, challenging way of thinking
  • willingness to be involved in new work experiences
  • time availability
  • enthusiasm

Expected impact

Mentoring and coaching can:

Example(s) of prior application

Company name: Incerpi Group

Number of employees: 6
Location: Pistoia (Tuscany, ITALY)

How the WPI was implemented?

The INCERPI company has been operating in Tuscany for three generations. The company successfully managed the first generational changeover, from the father Arturo to his son Rinaldo. In a few years, Rinando’s son, Federico, will take over the company and, in view of the new generational change, coaching was activated to accompany the members in this delicate phase, to understand the family dynamics linked to it. The coaching intervention in this experimental phase aimed to understand if there were critical issues related to the personal dynamics of family members to manage them consciously. The coaching path aimed to identify the potential, the objectives, the action plan that Rinaldo and Federico pursued in this phase of transition and coexistence in the company. They decided to embark on a coaching journey with 7 meetings. During the meetings, the coach tried to investigate Federico’s motivations. The criticism fund was inherent to the his dissatisfaction and lack of motivation regarding the Incerpi Group. Various tools have been used to let Federico understand how to contribute to the family business, such as the “Charter of voids” to reason about the needs that interfere in the behavior; the “Island of awareness” for the analysis of the behaviors that the client deems not functional to the achievement of his own objectives; the “Mind map” for reasoning and taking into consideration all the options and hypotheses to achieve a goal; “Discovering beliefs” to understand what are the limiting beliefs in each of us; “Discovering values” to reflect how personal behaviors and actions can fully satisfy certain values. It emerged clearly from Federico a strong need for recognition together with a strong need for Independence. Federico highlighted how his personal entrepreneurial activity was a source of great satisfaction, as it allowed him to put in practice actions aligned with his own values ​​of vitality, integrity, persistence, audacity, social responsibility and desire to keep learning. At the same time, during the course of the sessions, the father expressed a certain uncertainty regarding the intentions of his son. He also highlighted the conviction that he had always adopted a functional behavior in collaboration with his son for what concerned the company; as well as the willingness to leave Federico the complete freedom to decide on his own professional future.

Results obtained

The coaching intervention brought:

– Greater awareness of needs and values that guide corporate and personal actions

– Greater clarity of the roles and commitment that everyone will put into the company

– Greater communication and clarity between Rinaldo and Federico

– Greater awareness of the limits on which they should work

– Greater personal and interpersonal alignment


How can I acquire a voucher for implementing workplace innovation practices? ​