How To Be A Good Mentor and Counsellor

In our last article, How To Be A Good Situational Coach, we introduced the three components of Situational Coaching: Coaching, Mentoring, and Counselling. We established that the first component of Situational Coaching - Coaching - involves asking quality questions to help the coachee achieve cognitive breakthroughs.

But how does that differ from mentoring and counselling?

Mentoring is the act of imparting skills to the mentee to help them achieve a desired goal, while counselling is the act of correcting the counsellee to dissuade them from undesirable behaviour and performance.

Situational coaches use all three interdependently to fully support their employees. Let’s dive a little deeper into the processes of mentoring and counselling.


A great mentor adopts the Demonstrate-Participate-Do approach to help the mentee learn the required skills to perform a task. Mentoring often involves an independent and objective source of help outside of the line management relationship.

First, a mentor demonstrates how a task is to be done, observed closely by the mentee.  

Then, the mentee participates in the carrying out of the task with the mentor. This can be seen in the case of an apprentice car mechanic observing and co-assembling the mechanical parts of the car under repair.

Finally, in the doing phase, once the mentee acquires the skills to co-assemble the parts, the mentor will allow the mentee to do the task on their own.

Traditionally, mentors and counsellors direct and dictate actions. However, we believe that mentors should incorporate questions in all stages of the mentoring process. By asking questions and allowing the mentee to be involved in finding the solutions, the mentee is given a hands-on approach to learning.

Occasionally, challenging situations will arise in which the mentee does not know the answer to the question at hand. In these situations, the mentor should step in and provide them with a straightforward answer or assistance.  

The next component of Situational Coaching is counselling. The same coach that coaches and mentors can resort to the act of counselling if continuous poor performance or undesirable behaviour is displayed by the employee.

Once again, it’s important to bring in quality questions in this process. This allows the counsellee to take ownership of fixing their undesirable behaviour or performance.

Rather than telling the counsellee what they should or should not be doing, ask them, “What would you do differently to better your performance?” Or “How would you behave differently to get along better with the team?” This gives the counsellee the space to consider acceptable solutions and performance standards while holding themselves accountable.

Noticing a trend yet?

Across all three components of Situational Coaching: Coaching, Mentoring, and Counselling, quality questions are the unifying factor across the different scenarios and come into play when using Coaching Conversation Caps, the Demonstrate-Participate-Do approach, or even when guiding others.

Here at PACE, our Master Coaches have over 20 years of experience in Organisational Development (OD) and guiding executives and managers to be better leaders. Book a session with one of our Master Coaches now to turn your potential into possibilities. Let’s work together on your journey of becoming a better coach, mentor and counsellor.

We also offer a professional motivation assessment tool, Motivation Factor, to help identify your employee’s needs and talents. The custom 10-page report will include the employee’s Top 5 Primary Needs, Top 5 Primary Talents, Indicator Need-Cloud, and Indicator Talent-Cloud.

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