coach mentoring

10 Ideas - Mentoring

Find out more about the benefits of getting involved with the FA Coach Mentor Programme by reading this article from the Manager magazine!

The following article is from the Manager magazine Issue #40, follow this link to find out more:



Mentoring is not exactly the same as coaching or teaching. A good mentor will support and challenge you, helping you to work through your ideas and come to decisions independently. They’ll share their experiences and lessons, but will resist the temptation to tell you how things should be done or to push you in a particular direction. Crucially, a mentor will be guided by your needs rather than dictating the way forward.


A good mentor will be an adept communicator, because there’s an art to asking questions that are targeted but not loaded. They will open up, too, recounting experiences similar to yours, how they dealt with them and what they learned, and they’ll help you to find relevance in their storytelling.

A good mentor will also be a great sounding board; they’ll encourage you to talk and share your emotions and will listen without judgement when you do.


When choosing a mentor think first about what you’re hoping to achieve. If it’s to develop in a technical or industry-specific area, such as strategy or training methods, it might make sense to seek someone from within your field. If, however, you want to develop in other ways, like maturing your leadership skills or coping better with pressure, an experienced member of, say, the business community, charitable sector or military may be able to provide a valuable alternative perspective.


For a mentoring relationship to be successful the chemistry has to be right. That doesn’t mean you need to be friends or know each other well, but you do need to feel at ease in each other’s company and be comfortable confiding in one another. What’s most important when choosing or being matched with a mentor is that you respect them for their experience and knowledge and they are willing to challenge your approaches and ideas.


A mentor doesn’t have to be older than the person they are mentoring. Younger mentors will have different knowledge or skills that even a far more experienced manager can learn from, often in relation to the use of certain technologies and social media. This kind of mentoring relationship can also be beneficial in helping the manager understand how best to communicate with and manage the younger generation.


Set out how you want the arrangement to work right from the start, so you both know what to expect and what’s required of you. Make sure you’re realistic and that neither of you commits more time than you can give, as building trust and reliability early on is key. Meet somewhere private and keep notes so you have something to look back on and digest.


What you talk about with your mentor will depend on your needs and interests, but it’s a good idea to focus initially on just a few core issues. More time and complexity can be built in if things progress well. Prior to each session, agree on what you hope to discuss and what you’d like to get from it. That way, you both have time to think about what experience and ideas you might bring to the table.


Mentoring can have a hugely positive impact on an individual’s personal and professional development. Research published by NFER and TDA found that, aside from helping to develop specific professional skills and knowledge, mentoring improves clarity of thinking, self-reflection, psychological wellbeing and confidence. It leads to better skills in problem solving, decision making, communication and relationships, and results in more positive attitudes towards professional development.


There’s plenty of research to back up the power of mentoring. In one study, for example, it was found that you are 70 per cent more likely to achieve your goals if you share them with someone to whom you feel accountable, such as a mentor. Meanwhile, the Harvard Business Review reported that among CEOs in formal mentoring programmes, 84 per cent said mentors had helped them to avoid costly mistakes, 84 per cent had become proficient in their roles faster and 69 per cent felt they were making better decisions.


Research shows that 89 per cent of those who are mentored go on to mentor themselves. Being a mentor helps to develop your skills in communication, listening, empathy and planning how to bridge another individual’s skills or knowledge gaps. If the person you’re mentoring is from within your club or organisation, the work you do with them may also have benefits in terms of succession planning. Sharing your experiences may give you a confidence boost and re-energise you, while also refreshing your memory of what you’ve learned throughout your career.


This article can be found in issue 40 of the Manager magazine, the League Managers Association’s quarterly publication. More information can be found here.


To find out more information about the FA coach Mentor Programme, please email:

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