Remote Coaching and Mentoring – Quality Leadership from a Distance
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Remote Coaching and Mentoring – Quality Leadership from a Distance

Leadership Styles and Qualities - E-Learning

The Covid-19 pandemic, with subsequent lockdowns and prolonged WFH guidelines, has, inevitably, changed the face of the mentoring and leadership. We can no longer monitor trainees face-to-face and must rely solely on technology to ensure we stay connected, accessible and approachable.

However, this shouldn’t mean that quality, well-supervised leadership and mentoring are no longer an option – it simply means we must learn a new set of techniques and methods to ensure remote mentoring is a high standard and beneficial for all involved.

Below you’ll find some practical steps to ensure remote training and mentorship programmes are effective, advantageous and informative, while still maintaining and promoting professional standards.



Remote Coaching and Mentoring

Before the pandemic, coaching and mentoring often took place largely through a process of osmosis – trainees would learn the necessary skills for their industry by watching and interacting with supervisors and other employees, joining meetings, listening to conversations and attending workplace-based training.

However, the restrictions set in place around the world as a result of the pandemic, mean that this style of learning is no longer viable in many industries, workplaces and offices.

And so, it is necessary to form new methods for implementing continuing professional development programmes, mentorships and training programmes so that high standards are still maintained and trainees can become confident and autonomous members of the workforce.

Remote coaching and mentoring requires a different procedure than face-to-face methods; additional support from those in leadership roles, individual trainee provision based on their needs, extra communication, and emotional support all become more important and valuable when working remotely.

Understanding the challenges faced by current trainees, and knowing how to support them, is vital in ensuring the success of remote mentorships.



Self-Management and Autonomy

With WFH being standard practise at present, trainees are needing to assume much more self-management and autonomy, at an earlier stage, than they would have previously in an office setting.

Dealing with additional home-based interruptions, coping with WIFI or technology problems, managing priorities and upholding deadlines have become the norm for trainees during this difficult time and most of them have coped admirably with this high level of independence.

However, it is down to those in leadership positions to ensure that lines of communication remain open to discuss any problems, that trainees know they can ask for additional support when required, and that they understand things can sometimes go wrong.

When this does happen (as it inevitably will at some point), mentors should endeavour to avoid placing blame on trainees, and instead, encourage open discussion and beneficial feedback that highlights how these issues can be avoided in the future, what is working well and preferences for future problem-solving dialogues.




Positive communication is fundamental to good working relationships whether we are in an office or working from our dining room table.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to trainee/mentor relationships but also other team members, support staff, and clients.

The problem with a WFH culture is that trainees are no longer able to ‘sit in’ on meetings, engage in-person with clients, or talk to other employees around the office as they once would have, and are therefore, missing out on opportunities to watch and learn from others, or to spontaneously interact in face-to-face situations.

Online meetings on platforms such as, Zoom or Teams, play a great role in allowing us to overcome some of these issues but there will always be instances when online meetings are either undesirable or inappropriate.

Some clients prefer to conduct business in person, with people they know and trust, so ensuring trainees have an opportunity to experience this is vital.

The following tips can help with improving communication:

• Offer client-facing opportunities whenever possible (and safe) to do so

• Encourage regular feedback/discussions with individual trainees and the wider team

• Ensure trainees know that you are available for assistance – they just need to ask

• Schedule regular check-ins

• Be clear – check trainees’ understanding and summarise your expectations

• Encourage trainees to lead meetings on occasions to develop skill

• Communication isn’t just verbal so give opportunity for written examples (emails, letters, and so on) to be tried and tested

• Listen to what your trainees tell you about your methods and approaches.

• There isn’t ‘one size fits all’ approach to communication so be open to different methods for each trainee



Emotional Support

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure that employees, trainees, and even those in leadership roles, feel supported.

Long, solitary working hours make it difficult to engage with others and share camaraderie with colleagues as we once did in the office.

However, there are so many alternative ways to stay connected, that no one need feel isolated or lack emotional support.

Encourage online team building opportunities, use a ‘back-up buddy’ system (where team members can be paired for mutual support) and encourage external/outdoors sports or exercise for optimal mental health and well-being.

Pastoral support should be available to everyone – be sure your trainees know they can approach you regarding these matters and where to go for additional support should it be needed.