Advanced Coaching and Mentoring Practices that Build Structured and Reliable Programs to Enhance Performance.

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Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
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This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging Coaching and Mentoring practices.

What it is

Coaching and mentoring at this level gains structure and formalization as it is increasingly integrated into operations to guide employees at all levels in the performance management process and through assessment tools to support more objective identification of individual strengths and areas in need of development. With a broadened application to cover all employees, it can naturally grow into an organization-wide capability. Leaders and managers practice more advanced techniques and serve as role models for such behavior with their subordinate leaders and managers.

It further fuels the growth into a capability by taking on practices that support creating a culture where coaching and mentoring techniques expand across job roles and applications (e.g., performance, productivity, capability, and career development). It formalizes the training and ongoing support of internal coaches and mentors, adopting standards for coach and mentor selection, skills training, and follow-up informal learning that continually reinforces the acquisition of more advanced skills and capabilities. It engages external experts who bring a more sophisticated level of coaching to senior leaders and offers powerful role modeling for coaching behaviors (e.g., listening, constructive feedback) that top leaders can subsequently adopt and develop into role models for the leaders and managers who report to them. Such leadership development can focus on key attitudes and behaviors the company wants to enhance as it seeks to improve and grow its culture.

Why use it

The value of formalized coaching and mentoring is derived primarily from their personalized, tailored nature as development vehicles. Those support employees in reaching their full potential in current and future roles, enhance their engagement with the organization and help them build greater self-insights and awareness. It engages with external experts who provide unique guidance based upon coaching of leaders across company cultures, industries, and scales. The use of formalized and objective assessments reduces bias, and the training of managers in performance coaching skills and techniques helps reduce errors in judgment. It builds a fairer and more equitable employment and development environment.

The training and deployment of internal coaches and mentors spread the use of accelerated development to mid-level and more senior leaders and, therefore, has the potential to expand the talent pool of ready replacements for top leadership roles. It can also create a cadre of coaching and mentoring specialists who can be deployed when acquiring a new company to have resources ready to help transition the new employees and leaders into the company’s culture and expectations.


Adopting these practices provides clear guidance for sourcing and selecting outside vendors best positioned to provide executive coaching for the most senior leaders and engage many of those leaders as mentors to more junior leaders. It provides a pathway towards enterprise-wide adoption of enhanced coaching standards and behaviors for all managers as they are trained, evaluated, and rewarded for effective use of coaching on all employees. 

Practices at this level create more objective feedback for those being coached or mentored using formal assessments. That leads to a more accurate identification and targeting of strengths and weaknesses to improve their leadership effectiveness. Through this, skill and capability development can become more targeted, tailored, and meaningful to the participant enabling the coach or mentor to become more directed and specific in their guidance or advice as is appropriate for the role. They also lead to a full integration of coaching and mentoring into company business and HR strategies, employee value proposition, and employer brand. Executives and leaders become more fully engaged in developing their subordinates and future leaders, through a structured strategy and development plan, ensuring fairness and equity in the process. 

Their use creates a culture of coaching and mentoring, where development and more humanistic guidance are provided across the organization in a way that respects and actively respects the individual’s capabilities and problem-solving abilities instead of a more command-and-control management style. It reinforces and encourages leaders and managers to practice the targeted behaviors through rewards and recognition programs and processes.

Practice guides at this level

Engaging external executive coaches and internal mentors to build leadership capability.

Sourcing, selecting, and leveraging external coaches as resources and providers of strategic value to the organization.

Incorporating coaching and mentoring into performance management to better engage employees in their own performance.

Integrating managerial feedback and coaching with the skills practiced by both external and internal coaches through training, employee feedback, and rewards practices.

Leveraging assessments to identify targeted development opportunities.

Using formal assessments that are typically leveraged in coaching relationships and provide more objective insights into the capabilities and development needs of coachees.

Building a culture of coaching and mentoring that creates a continuous learning and improvement environment.

Building an environment where continuous development and growth provide the organization with evolving individual capabilities that aggregate into organizational capabilities.

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