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The following interventions are alternative ways to aid your development, to offer information and to prepare you for potential career progression opportunities. Whilst every opportunity to develop staff will be considered seriously by the University, any arrangements agreed by management in these areas should reflect relevance to advancing/developing knowledge/skills in their current role and time of any release will be dependent on operational requirements at the time.

wmg mentoring

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Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are terms that are often used together as they use the same core listening and conversation skills to provide support. Both interventions can help with developing an individuals’ personal and professional skills, knowledge and performance but are applied in different contexts. Coaching is generally less directive, supporting someone to clarify and address their own objectives, whilst mentoring also draws on experience and knowledge to provide guidance in support of development. The University offers training and development in coaching and mentoring, see below links:

cm guidance  


Coaching concerns the complete person – their Capability, Attitudes and Beliefs. Coaching generally occurs through a series of one-to-one conversations in which the coach uses the ability to listen, to ask questions and to play back what they have heard to create a relationship of rapport and trust that enables the other person to clarify what matters to them and to work out what to do to achieve their aspirations/address work-related issues.

Non-directive coaching in particular is the dynamic and interactive process in which a coach assists an individual in understanding and reaching their own objectives rather than the coach assessing issues and providing solutions for someone.

Working with a trained/qualified coach, outside ongoing discussions with your line manager, can help to unlock a persons’ potential and maximise performance.


Whilst utilising many of the same core conversation skills, techniques and practices as coaching, a mentor will also draw on their experience, expertise and knowledge to advise and guide a less experienced person, in order to enhance their performance or support their development. A mentor can be helpful in sharing their experience of the institution, a particular field of work and introducing an individual to useful groups and networks. With this in mind, a mentor may be particularly helpful to a new member of staff, or someone looking to develop and progress. Mentoring can be a long term support relationship, but equally can be a useful consideration for an individual seeking advice on a particular issue or goal.

Alongside this, acting as a mentor can be a valuable experience as a personal development opportunity.


A secondment offers an individual the opportunity to explore different career possibilities by changing role on a temporary basis. This can be for a few weeks up to a period of two years. A secondment can enable the best use of current skills and experience or development of new skills and areas of expertise. Some secondment opportunities are advertised, or, in some cases an individual can enquire if an opportunity might be available, either currently or at some point in the future. Secondments can open up new opportunities to experience different working practices and environments in the same institution or outside the institution and offers a good career development opportunity. Secondments can be to a post at the same grade or to a post in a higher grade and, in such cases, this can result in a steep learning curve. A secondment may therefore also result in a change of pay depending on the situation.

By taking on a secondee the institution can often attract additional skills to those basic skills required for the role. It can enable the institution to undertake a specific task or piece of work without adding to their staffing complement. Secondees should also keep in touch with colleagues in their former roles/area to aid moving back to their substantive role. Individuals wishing to consider a secondment should think about the opportunities to be gained and how new knowledge or experience will be of benefit before discussing the possibility of a secondment with their line manager or as part of PDR process.

david walker


Workshadowing opportunities usually last for a few hours or a couple of days and are where an individual observes someone in their day-to-day role. The objective of workshadowing is to achieve an in-sight or increase knowledge, of an area of work that you are interested in, or a role that you might like to do in the future, rather than gaining hands-on experience through undertaking tasks. It brings a job to life and will help you go gain an understanding of the type of work and decide whether it’s for you; it can also help you to build a network of contacts that may help you with issues in the future.

It is important to remember that not all jobs are suitable for shadowing, particularly where there may be issues regarding confidentiality of information or data or health and safety matters.

Workshadowing opportunities are not generally advertised; an approach needs to be made by you and can often be done with the help of your line manager. Therefore an initial conversation with your line manager or as part of the PDR process should be considered.