Coaching & Mentoring

Coaching – What is it?

Coaching is an opportunity for high-achieving individuals to accelerate their growth, learning and effectiveness. Coaching works particularly well in situations where someone has identified a specific need – examples might be getting started on a major project or upcoming event (specific projects), getting to grips with a new role or responsibility (promotion / role-transition), or tackling individual or team performance (leadership / motivation / interpersonal skills). Additionally it can sometimes be helpful for an individual to work with a coach on an on-going basis, unrelated to any particular challenge, where the coach acts as a sounding-board and support. This is sometimes referred to as mentoring to distinguish it from coaching (which is usually issue-specific).

Our approach to coaching

At Sherwood, we start from the assumption that the person being coached has (or can access) all the knowledge, experience and resources required to address the challenges he / she faces. The coach’s role is to facilitate the move from analysis of the challenge, through identification of options, to a commitment to and enthusiasm for action. As coaches there are a number of things we can bring to that process:

Complete confidentiality

A safe place to rehearse ideas, test alternatives, air concerns and experiment with new approaches and ways of working


An absolute commitment to the individual’s well-being, progress and success


As people rise within an organisation it can get more difficult for colleagues to test their views and decisions. This can leave senior leaders ‘blind-sided’. A coach can ask questions and challenge statements and assumptions in a way that others in the organisation may not feel able to do


Part of the coach’s role can be to provide honest, direct feedback about how the individual comes across and, by implication, how they might come across to colleagues at work. (If the individual and their organisation is willing, it can also be helpful to solicit feedback from work colleagues to sharpen the individual’s self-awareness.)

A rigorous process to accelerate progress

We don’t aim to be subject-experts with answers to all the individual’s problems. In fact, key to the individual’s growth and development is that they work through and find their own answers. Their greater effectiveness depends upon them finding answers that work for them, at this particular moment, in their particular organisation. And they are best placed to judge what those answers might be. What we can provide is a rigorous process to help them get there more quickly.

Having said that, it may be appropriate at a given moment for the coach to share his or her own ideas - approaches, theory, models, different experience of ways of working - in order to widen the individual’s repertoire of resources. We are always prepared to do this (and in a mentoring relationship this often forms a key part of the role).

Trained professionals

All the Sherwood coaches are professionally trained business coaches. We welcome enquiries from clients about one-to-one or team coaching assignments.

For a copy of The Sherwood Coaching Handbook click here.

For a copy of Des O'Connell's review of Relational Coaching by Eric de Haan click here.

For a copy of Coaching for the Bar click here.

For a copy of a recent survey on "The Use of Coaching in Law Firms" by Des O'Connell of the Sherwood Coaching Group (for the Institute of Coaching, April 2012) click here.

  • An awesome experience for my mind, skills and career."
  • After your coaching I had a series of important client meetings. So many of your tips worked. I even used your advice about ‘being tough in charming way’ and that worked too! So I am pleased for me and credit you with the increment needed to achieve this.
  • I wanted to say a personal thank you for the advice and feedback you gave me. You gave me the confidence and positive feedback that I needed to make the change and go out and do something about it. So I start a new chapter tomorrow, one that I am excited and scared about in equal measure, and one that I have you to thank for.