For a number of years now, workplaces have known that coaching and mentoring is a really effective way to help their people achieve even more. When the Royal Australian Air Force decided that having a cadre of trained coaches would improve performance and success, I was keen to be involved as a recipient. As a high achiever, I wanted to be better – be able to achieve even more. Unfortunately for me, the focus was on levels above me and I ran out of time before I could formally benefit from being assigned a coach (as such).


Having said that though, I didn’t let it stop me from learning all I could about coaching, mentoring, success mindsets and using the frameworks in my leadership and day to day work. As well as the education I was receiving through RAAF, I also studied a change management degree to help me to help others more effectively and with confidence.

There were a few things I’ve learned along the way and the first of which I’m sharing with you today – the things to consider before working with a coach or a mentor. While coaches and mentors work in different ways, there are similarities in the considerations.  Below are 5 tips to really think about before engaging with a coach or a mentor to lead you to your own success.


1️⃣ Who’s responsible for doing the work? Do you want to learn how to do the work or get someone to do it on your behalf?

✅ A coach/mentor will support you to do the work – whatever that might mean.


2️⃣ Is your problem a one-off or an ongoing problem? To address an ongoing problem, you need to learn – gain knowledge, develop skills, investigate/adapt attitudes.

✅ A coach/mentor supports you to firstly analyse what you need, then gain the knowledge, develop the skills and examine attitudes (adapting if required).


3️⃣ Are you willing to hand control to someone else to ‘fix’ your problem?

✅ A coach/mentor supports you to address the problem.


4️⃣ Are you coachable? Are you really willing to listen to the coach/mentor and be open to testing out ways of doing, thinking and seeing that are not the norm for you?


5️⃣ What do you really want from the relationship/agreement? What is your end goal? What are your expectations?

✅ Being really clear about your expectations will help you get the most out of each interaction.


To me, #4 is the most important of the 5. Being coachable and willing to listen and consider what the coach/mentor is saying or asking you is the best gift you can give yourself. Let’s face it, if you knew it all already and were indisputably confident and successful,  you’d be much further along your path than you are. Ultimately, whether you work with a coach or a mentor, it comes down to you and the action that you take or don’t take, as the case may be.