Make Coaching and Mentoring Work for You

December 4, 2018 by Angela Splinter


Coaching and mentoring can have a significant positive impact on worker recruitment and retention. In fact, through our Top Fleet Employer program, we are seeing the benefits of coaching and mentoring programs first-hand, including higher rates of driver retention, better workplace morale, and impacts on safety.

When designed and implemented effectively, a coaching and mentoring program can help overcome intergenerational disconnects in your workplace, support your safety culture, and increase employee engagement.

As we prepare for more changes in our industry in 2019, now is a good time to take a closer look at how coaching and mentoring can help your operations.

Understand the difference

It is quite common to hear the words “coaching” and “mentoring” used interchangeably in the context of organizational and personal development. Although there are many similarities between the two, there are many more differences.

Coaching is a process in which an experienced and knowledgeable person is formally called upon to help another person develop the insights and techniques needed to understand and grasp specific tasks and aspects of the job. Coaching is often short term. A coach will assist, challenge, and encourage rather than direct, advise, or teach.

Mentoring is a training method that seeks to develop employees in ways that are additional to the acquisition of specific skills or competencies. Most often, mentoring programs are long-term, relationship-oriented, and focused on cultivating career goals, networks, and overall professional acumen.

Why it matters

Coaching is often part of an effective on-boarding process, allowing you to have your experienced drivers, for example, spend time with your new drivers educating them on company practices, safety procedures and more. We know through our Top Fleet program that the longer and more focused the coaching program, the better your driver retention.

We also know that mentorship matters to millennials, a cohort that desires the consistent feedback and support that it provides. This is important for any fleet looking to better engage with this group.

Identify what will work with your business

Your own workforce demographics, business objectives, and workplace culture will inform the design of your coaching and mentorship program.

You can implement a formal program, or encourage more informal mentorship relationships. Both are beneficial, with formalized programs giving you something more concrete to measure at the end. One rule of thumb is that the larger the organization, the more structured the program will likely need to be.

Whichever approach you take, the objectives and benefits need to be clearly linked to organizational goals and part of your overall HR strategic plan.

Don’t underestimate the value of reverse mentoring

Learning goes both ways in the coaching and mentoring partnership. Some organizations are engaging in reverse mentoring programs that allow millennials to share their expertise in technology and innovation with older generations in the workplace. By combining the attitudes and approaches of millennials and workers from older generations, great things can happen.


As with any initiative at your business, you need to monitor and assess the value and return on investment. This will help you identify ways to improve your program. Whether you use employee surveys or some other tool, be sure you evaluate the program’s results against the organizational goals you established at the beginning.

While this should provide some tips to get you started, designing and implementing your own program will require an investment on your part. To learn more, join our webinar on December 12 where we will provide further insights along with some best practices from our Top Fleet Employers