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Coaching and Mentoring for Success

2.00 Contact Hours:
A score of 80% correct answers on a test is required to successfully complete any course and attain a certificate of completion.
Author:    Donna Thomas (RN, MSN, BSHEd)


The purpose of this course is to help formal and informal leader to become successful in coaching and mentoring staff.


This course is designed so that the healthcare professional will be able to:

  1. describe the difference between coaching and mentoring;
  2. describe three effective methods to give productive feedback; and
  3. identify difficulties in providing developmental feedback;
  4. list five ways to help empower staff to create actions for improvement
  5. discuss generational concerns in coaching


A mentor counsels or guides. A coach instructs or trains.

Mentoring is long duration and focuses on career development by guiding and nurturing a protégé. A mentor is someone who walks beside the protégé while guiding them in career development. A mentor may at times instruct or train. In most organizations, entrance to middle-top management positions is not determined by just competence. It depends on acceptance by those who are in the most key and influential positions.

Coaching is a skill of attaining results by developing people to their maximum positive productive ability. It is a collaborative relationship undertaken between a coach and a willing individual. Coaching is time-limited verses mentoring. Coaching uses conversations and skill to help clients learn to lead while achieving their goals. A coach is someone who walks behind the client and pushes and encourages the client to stretch.


A mentor has expertise in the areas of self-presentation, positioning, and connecting the essential aspects of promotability. To assist individuals to make it to the top, a mentor who is accepted by top management is vital. A mentor takes a personal, somewhat parental interest in the protégé, to some degree beyond just being a co-worker or professional. A mentor does the following (Carr-Ruffino, (1989) :

  • Teach, advise, counsel, guide, and sponsor
  • Give insights in implementing the company's mission
  • Serve as a sounding board for decision making
  • Be a constructive critic
  • Provide necessary information for career advancement
  • Help cut through red tape
  • Stand up for the protégé in meetings or discussions in cases of controversy
  • Suggest the protégé for leadership opportunities
  • Increase the visibility of the protégé
  • Provide vital signals to other people that the protégé has the support of the mentor giving the protégé an aura of power and upward mobility

Mentoring Case Study

Ben is a Registered Nurse (RN) who started out as a Nursing Assistant (NA) and then went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). He completed an LPN to RN bridge program about a year ago.

Michelle is a nursing shift supervisor. She recognized Ben's clinical and leadership potential when he was an NA and has acted as his mentor for years. Michelle was instrumental in encouraging Ben to return to school. She helped Ben see the benefits for further education. Helped him identify schools, financing sources, and was influential in getting Ben's schedule changed to accommodate classes. Michelle had multiple conversations with Ben to assist him to transition from an LPN role to the RN role.

Now that Ben has been an RN for a year, Michelle influenced Ben's Nurse Manager to train Ben as a relief charge nurse. Michelle recommended that Ben ask to take charge nurse and leadership continuing education courses as they become available. In a year or two, if Ben is successful as a relief charge nurse and is still interested in leadership, Michelle will assist him to find and recommend him for a full time charge nurse position.


Coaching is not just giving advice, teaching, or directing – it is a collaboration in which the coach acts like a midwife: supporting, encouraging and helping the client through the experience while acknowledging the client as the expert and the person “making it happen” (Donner & Wheeler 2005).

The role as a coach is to develop the most critical asset of the organization its PEOPLE. This acronym stands for (Waddell, 2000):

P Philosophy: Core values and beliefs are the foundations of success
E Establish Standards: Guides behavior and establishes a basis for measurement of effectiveness
O Objective driven: Fulfilling the company Mission by taking ownership
P Paradigm shifting: A new way of thinking about an old problem. Think outside the box
L Let them know you care: Show employees they are valued and appreciated
E Encourage and build belief: Share belief in client's ability to be successful and capable

The most critical step as a coach is to create a climate of trust and learning. This step enables the client to feel safe to learn, to make mistakes, and to take risks. Without trust there can be no successful outcome. The CARE + 5 Model is a good coaching tool. This model included the following:

C create a climate of learning and trust
A appreciate client by seeing their perspective
R respond by providing developmental feedback
E empower staff and help them to develop actions for improvement

The + 5 model is:

  1. Established goals
  2. Promote Discovery
  3. Action Plan
  4. Authorize and Empower
  5. Recap, Review, & Restate

The productivity of a coach is apparent when the client develops new actions and practices to achieve goals. The coach has to always remember that coaching is not about the coach but about the client and each client is an individual. Coaching involves the following (Brennan, 1989):

  • investment of time by both the coach and client
  • focuses on specific limited learning needs
  • coach can be a senior co-worker, does not require the immediate boss
  • gives fast and practical results
  • guidance and instruction are focused on actual work output
  • close supervision of behavior change
  • catches a mistake before it has an effect
  • produces immediate value to the organization
  • flexible time frame that meets the actual client needs

Coaching Case Study

Shirley is a charge nurse who has worked in the organization over twenty years and realized that the staff all had the same common mission and goal of providing safe, quality, medical care to all of their patients in a timely manner and to inform the physician of any changes that could impact their patient's outcome. As a leader and seasoned nurse Shirley helps staff understand the reason change is important in meeting patient and staff needs and in being in compliance with the company's mission and values. Shirley has coached many staff, and helps those she coaches to deliver results, to act on their own, and to assist others to lead themselves.

Shirley is Ben's coach to learn the charge nurse job. In the first phase as a coach Shirley conducts an assessment of Ben. To be an effective coach Shirley has to listen, to discuss and question; to clarify Ben's sense of purpose, core values and beliefs and has to identify gaps between Ben's vision and reality, while providing the encouragement and motivation which will instill confidence. She notes the quality of his work, the quantity of work, and his use of time and cost effectiveness. Shirley evaluates how Ben handles the staff and how he is careful to show respect for everyone while being the charge nurse, and that he delegates the workload fairly.

In the second phase as a coach Shirley is concerned with action and implementation. Shirley and Ben create a productive plan using the ACTION model (Waddell, 2000).

A agree on the problem or challenge
C commit to a mutual goal
T teach and train
I initiate an action plan
O observe and give feedback
N negotiate follow up

Shirley provides the support, some ideas, know-how, and tools to help Ben accomplish his job as charge nurse. Shirley educates Ben on current policies and procedures, employee compensation, equal opportunity guidelines, the requirements that the Nurse Manager has of the charge nurses in making assignments and completing the workload, and meeting Joint Commission requirements. She helps Ben know when to ask for the additional assistance of the Nursing Supervisor.

Shirley provides developmental feedback to Ben. She knows the difference between performance appraisal and developmental feedback. Performance appraisal deals with feedback for actions completed in the past. Developmental feedback looks at the future. Both go hand in hand and performance appraisal feedback can turn into coaching opportunities.

Shirley knows that when she gives Ben feedback she has to be fair, honest and direct, while maintaining a trusting relationship. She knows that when giving feedback it was important to think first about how to say what needs to be said using the proper voice intonation while maintaining eye contact and demonstrating concern. She has to remember to see things through Ben's eyes. Her feedback has to be individually customized. Shirley has to be specific when describing actions/performance while maintaining and building Ben's self-esteem. Mistakes become learning opportunities, not disciplinary issues.

Before giving feedback Shirley connects and shows appreciation of Ben and his hard work. The feedback is given to encourage development and growth which helps to build a trusting relationship. Shirley demonstrates good intentions and is gentle and supportive of Ben's role as a charge nurse. She praises his strengths and ability to strengthen the healthcare team.

Shirley gives immediate feedback and discusses different ways of handling situations. When Shirley provides developmental feedback she remembers that no one was perfect, everyone including herself needs feedback to allow for growth to occur.

Feedback is vital in helping the client to connect, appreciate, respond and become empowered. If there is no feedback people could become less effective and never reach their potential. Providing Developmental Feedback is crucial and what makes it difficult at times is:

  • timing restraints (should be as soon as possible)
  • fear of hurting feeling
  • poor listening skills
  • ineffective communication

Shirley asks Ben to identify strengths. What is working? What is not working well? What would you have done differently? Shirley listens to what is not working and allows Ben to self-identify what might have been done differently. She is encouraging Self Discovery. Once these questions are answered Shirley adds her own feedback. She uses examples of Ben's actions/performance, observes Ben's reactions both verbal and non-verbal and helps him to develop self-esteem, gave examples on how to improve and to stretch to accomplish his goals.

Case Study Coaching a Group

As a productive coach Shirley also helps to empower staff to create actions for improvement. Ben is interested in learning the coaching role and assists Shirley. They both help to “empower” the staff to create actions for improvement. Shirley asks the staff specific questions which would enable all to become owners of the process. The staff has to (Waddell, 2000):

  1. Establish Goals/Focus
  2. Promote Discovery and other possibilities
  3. Establish an Action Plan
  4. Authorize and Empower
  5. Recap, Review, & Restate

1. Establish Goals/Focus
In the first process Shirley asks the staff what they want to change. What they need to accomplish the desired results? In establishing Goals/Focus the healthcare team Began with an end in mind, prioritize what needs to be done first, develop an agenda, determine goals and timeframes to accomplish goals.

2. Promote Discovery
In the second process Shirley asks more questions which encouraged the staff to discover possibilities or other options which would help them to achieve goals. They discuss both the positive and negative outcomes of specific actions. She listens to staff and paraphrases what is said. Shirley shares past experiences with staff and her perspective. She brain storms with staff and together they consider options.

3. Action Plan
In the third process Shirley helps the staff to determine a workable plan and course of action. She asks questions related to: What needs to be done next? With whom do they need to talk to? When do they plan to do this? How do they plan to achieve this? Specific assignments and accountability are established along with guidelines for staff to follow.

Shirley helps staff develop a concrete, workable, and viable plan and helps them begin to feel empowered to act while adapting to change.

4. Authorize and Empower
Shirley and staff work together to identify potential barriers and solutions to remove these barriers. Resources are identified both human and material. Shirley maintains her trusting relationship with staff as she shares her circle of influence.

5. Recap, Review, Restate
Shirley asks staff to recap, review, and restate the action plan. In this phase the staff focus on their desired results. They answer questions related to What, Where, Why, How, When and then establish the next meeting time. The staff discuss the resources available, barriers needing to be eliminated, who would be accountable for each phase and what they would be doing, and the consequences of accomplishing their goal both positive and negative.

Shirley assists staff and suggests that they put in writing this complete process with the beginning date and estimated completion date. She praises the team for all their efforts and for being willing to make change a positive.

Shirley felt she had done a good job and implemented the coaching process effectively. Now she would talk to her coach and would be asked: What worked well? What did not work well? What could have been done differently?

In summary a Coaches' feedback should be kept simple and should to the following:

  • build self-esteem, corrects, and stretches
  • views mistakes as learning opportunities
  • teaches self-fix, empowerment

Generational Concerns in Coaching and Communicating

A key to coaching is to remember the importance of good communication. As Chick Waddell (2000) states “developing people involves effectively communicating and challenging an employee to think and grow on their own.” Understanding the perspective and style of other people makes communicating and coaching effective.

One of the challenges in the healthcare work environment is working with people of various generations. Understanding the values, work ethics, and conflicts of each generation can improve communication and productivity. The different values of each age group should be considered in resolving differences and negotiating tangibles such as work schedules, hours, tasks, and equipment.

The generations are grouped by year of birth:

  • Silent Generation (born 1925-1942)
  • Baby Boomers (1942-1960)
  • Generation “X” (1961-1981)
  • Generation “Y” (1982-2003).

The following tables describe generalized characteristics, values and methods for coaching and communicating with each generation (Zemke, Raines, & Filip, 2000) (NY Times, 2009).

Silent Generation
Generation Values Methods for Coaching and Communicating
Slang names: Beatnik, Dunce
Movies: Wizard of OZ
Gone with the Wind
Shirley Temple
Music: Elvis Presley, Benny Goodman
Hair styles: ducktail, flat top
Clothing: Saddle shoes, poodle skirts
TV: Phil Silvers
Late night: Jack Par
Dances: two-step, jitterbug, swing
Generational happenings: doubleheader, outer space, air raids, Sunday drives, the great depression
Follows directions without asking why
One company for life: loyal to the organization
Work hard and get ahead
Respects authority
Traditional hierarchy
Inflexible/resistant to change
Respectful of gender
Respect strong sense of loyalty
Explain changes needed-with time frames (likes the norm)
Reward systems are not necessary.
Respect their “cost conscious” mindset
Respect their silence: personal issues should not be discussed at work
Reared with a strong commitment to manners and respect of establishment and genders
Strong need for “hierarchy” and bureaucracy- they built in
Give them a longer time frame to make decisions
Baby Boomers
Generation Values Methods for Coaching and Communicating
Slang names: Hippie, Yuppie, Nerd
Movies: Ben Hur, Ten Commandments, James Bond
Music: Beatles, Beach Boys
Hair styles: afro, shag
Clothing: mini skirt, bell bottoms, hot pants
TV: leave it to Beaver
Lake Night: Johnny Carson
Dances: twist, rock'n roll, disco
Generational happenings: Super Bowl, inner space, drive in movies
60 hour work week
Self absorbed/self fulfillment
Value leadership skills
Religious influence
Lives are meaningful
Do not like conflict
Somewhat inflexible
Nurture and develop: provide continuing education
Make sure when using teams they are productive
Support need for long term relationships
Need to answer the “why” and give them structure as to “how”
Negotiate the need for change
Support casual Fridays and their need to simplify their lives
Know they are willing to “put in the time”
Stress dynamic/create a “make a difference” environment
Generation “X”
Generation Values Methods for Coaching and Communicating
Slang names: head bangers, geeks
Movies: Pulp Fiction, Terminator
Music: Cindy Lauper, Madonna, MC Hammer, Garth Brooks
Hair styles: skin heads, spiral perms
Clothing: name brand, vinyl jackets
TV: Simpsons
Late Night: Jay Leno
Dances: line dancing, Macarena, running man
Generational happenings: Dream Team, cyberspace, computers, fear of AIDS Chameleon-like
Change is constant
Highly adaptable to diversity, new people and groups
Less prejudice
Electronic wizards-truly computer literate
Work with ambiguity
Dislike process
Want to make an impact
Need access to information
Often question the boss
Need trust and respect
Want contribution noted and valued
Demonstrate expert management techniques
Train and orient
Set specific standards
Give them instructions and information, then let them be creative
Support their balanced lifestyles
Make work fun
Provide access to technology
Develop a reward system
Support non-traditional work settings and hours
Generation “Y” (Millennial Generation, Net Generation ,Peter Pan Generation)
Generation Values Methods for Coaching and Communicating
Slang names: skaters
Movies: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Harry Potter, World of Warcraft
Music: Brittany Spears, pop culture
Cloths: name brand, Goth
TV: Beavis & Butthead
Generational happenings:
Digital technologies: internet, online gaming, texting, email
Achievers, trophy seekers
Culturally liberal-reject attitude of Baby Boomers
Lives with parents longer
Needs to feel valued
Changes jobs frequently and even careers seeking self-fulfillment in the workplace
They value their time, which takes precedence
They look for flexibility that allows a balance between work, family and personal time
Want jobs that fit their lifestyle
Fluent in today's technologies
Possess great business acumen and a firmer grasp of money matters
Outspoken, bold thinkers, with a strong sense of self worth
Need constant feedback on accomplishments
Requires appealing incentives to join the work force with constant rewards


Although coaching and mentoring are aligned, they are independent concepts and strategies. What unites them is that both are founded upon mutual trust, respect, and excellent communication skills.

Coaching helps to develop people by effectively communicating and challenging an employee to stretch, think, and grow on their own. Problems should become growth challenges which can produce positive outcomes. Mentoring helps people by giving ongoing support as long as needed and helps to strengthen each employee on an individual basis so that they too can grow with the organization. Valuing people strengthens the foundation of businesses.


Brennan, J. (1989). Performance Management. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.

Carr-Ruffino, N. (1989). The Promotable Women. Wadsworth-Publishing Co: Belmont, California.

College of Nursing. Mentored Research. (2009) Graduate Mentoring Awards. Nursing Learning Center; Students Nurses' Association. Retrieved February 20, 2010 from (Visit Source).

Covey S. (2004).The 8th Habit from Effectiveness to Greatness. Simon & Schuster.

Donner, G J., Wheeler, M. (2005). "making it happen". Retrieved February 20, 2010 from (Visit Source).

Goldsmith, M., B. & Shelton, K. (2000).Learning Journeys-Lessons on becoming Great Mentors and Leaders. New York: Davies-Black.

Hargrove, R. (2000). Masterful Coaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Maskey, C. (2009). Cognitive coaching has an exciting place in nursing education. Teaching and Learning in Nursing Volume 4, Issue 2, April 2009, Pages 63-65. Retrieved February 21, 2010 from (Visit Source).

Mentorship in Public Health. (2009). Is there enough mentoring in nursing? The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing. May 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2010 from (Visit Source).

NY Times (2009). Generation Y - They're 20-Something and Already Nostalgic. Jul 23, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2010 from (Visit Source).

The International Council of Nurses Sigma Theta Tau. (2009) Press Release May 25, 2009 ... Retrieved February 20, 2010 from (Visit Source).

Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing up Digital. The Rise of the Net Generation. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Waddell, C. (2000). Coaching 2 Win A Guide To Help Managers Deliver Results. Coppell: Excellence in Action Partners.

Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filip Z. (2000). Generations at Work. New York: AMACOM.

This course is applicable for the following professions:

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Home Health Aid (HHA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN), Physical Therapist (PT/PTA), Registered Nurse (RN), Respiratory Therapist (RT)


Administration & Leadership, CPD: Practice Effectively, CPD: Promote Professionalism and Trust

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