Coaching and mentoring employees


2 min read

Coaching vs mentoring Coaching Mentoring Additional resources

Coaching and mentoring are essential resources for empowering and guiding individuals to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Spending time with a mentor or a coach helps people look at a situation through different eyes and extends their thinking. Mentors and coaches may be independent of the immediate farm business which can help provide clarity about what the big goals really are without getting bogged down in the day-to-day stuff.

Coaching vs mentoring

Coaches offer listening, questioning, and feedback skills, while mentors provide perspective and empathy based on shared experiences.

Spending time with a mentor or a coach allows employees to look at a situation through different eyes and extends their thinking beyond the obvious.


Coaching requires listening, acknowledging, questioning, and providing corrective feedback. It keeps people on track. Coaching can happen every day on-farm between the employer and employee, or you may engage with an external professional to help make a change to achieve a particular goal. The determination and commitment of the coach can influence results.

A coach:

  • Is usually future-oriented.
  • Clarifies where you are now and where you want to be and helps bridge the gap between the two.
  • Creates awareness and offers solutions to fill gaps in skills and knowledge as well as prompt changes in behaviour.
  • Develops thinking, self-belief, confidence, understanding, ownership, empowerment, motivation, clarity, and focus.
  • Is not soft. Their input leads to action, accountability, and execution.

Professional coaches are an excellent option when an alternative perspective is required. They are not necessarily sector specific, as coaching skills are transferable. However, there are companies that do specialise in dairy farm coaching. Visit the Insights and trends to building a great team page to see who else can help you.

Coaching your team

Coaching is not something you should just squeeze into spare moments in the day. In general, a good coach needs to commit time over a reasonable period to have a positive impact.

There are aspects of coaching that can happen in your day-to-day work though. Think about the conversations you are already having and switch from giving your employees the answer to problems to asking your employees for solutions. Give them small chunks of extra responsibility along with some boundaries they can operate in and let them know you are in the background to support them.

If you use the coaching opportunities that are available to you each day, your employees are likely to feel more empowered and motivated and become more competent. This results in a more productive and independent team, and you will find satisfaction in observing their progress.


Mentoring offers a fresh perspective when the mentee reaches the limit of their knowledge, experience and thinking. It’s particularly effective when people have just taken on a new challenge or are looking for an opportunity. The desire for new skills and learning at these times is heightened so people have a greater focus. Mentors understand the mentee’s issues by drawing from their own similar experiences, fostering empathy.

  • A mentor empowers, supports, and encourages people to manage their learning.
  • The mentor normally works in a similar field or shares similar experiences.
  • The relationship with a mentor is based on mutual trust, respect, and confidentiality.

For effective mentoring, it is crucial that both parties can focus without distraction. Scheduling discussions in the evening or away from the farm can be beneficial. Be realistic about frequency - monthly or even quarterly discussions are enough for most people. Remember that a mentoring role may continue beyond your staff’s direct employment on your farm.

Mentors are generally motivated by wanting to impact someone's life by sharing their knowledge and experiences. They often offer their time for free. Because effective mentoring is grounded in a personal connection a good mentor is not something you can easily discover through an online search. It’s quite common for managers to become mentors for employees, and this can be a highly successful way of developing and empowering employees.

Last updated: May 2024

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