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UCD Research Skills & Career Development

Forbairt Ghairme & Taighde Scileanna UCD


There are many definitions of Coaching but the following definition captures the key components:

‘… the facilitation of learning and development with the purpose of improving performance and enhancing effective action, goal achievement and personal satisfaction.’

Peter Bluckert

Coaching provides a reflective space for a coachee who, with the support of the coach, can step outside a situation, review if from different perspectives and generate and explore alternative options for changing or resolving a situation.  The situation can be specific or general, small or large, recent or ongoing.  The situation might not necessarily present as a ‘problem’ but

When is coaching used?
Coaching is used help realise the potential of the individual both personally and professionally.   For example coaching can support employees new to a role and support them through the initial learning curve.  Coaching is also used as part of succession planning to help develop an individual for a more senior role.  Coaching is also used during a time of change when an individual may be struggling with the rate or extent of the change.  But irrespective of the context in which coaching takes place the underpinning principles remain the same.

Key Principles

  • Engagement in a coaching relationship needs to be voluntary
  •  The ultimate aim of the coaching process is development of the individual and increased satisfaction
  • The approach by the coach is generally non-directive and facilitative – ‘drawing out’ rather than ‘telling’
  •  The coaching agenda is driven by the coachee
  •  Openness and trust are key to successful coaching relationships therefore the confidential nature of the coaching conversations must be preserved at all times unless otherwise agreed with the coachee.

How do I access Coaching?
You should discuss the possibility of coaching with your PI/Mentor at your planning meeting.  There are a number of trained internal coaches within UCD who are available to all staff across the university.  If you are interested in learning more about these coaches, please contact who will explain more about the process and also send you a short profile of the coaches available. 

The Supervisor & Team Leader Skills programme also provides participants with an option to sign up for an hour’s one to one coaching session with the course facilitator. 

Coaching resources
European Mentoring and Coaching Council        
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


Mentoring is a process in which one person (Mentor) is responsible for overseeing the career and development of another person (Mentee) outside the normal manager/employee relationship.

It is a process, which focuses upon the transfer and sharing of knowledge and experience.  The Mentor is usually a person who has more experience in the organisation or a particular role/discipline that the mentee can use as a sounding board.  A successful mentoring relationship will also yield benefits for the Mentor as well as the Mentee.

When is mentoring used?
Mentoring can be used in a variety of situations which include the induction of new employees, succession planning and newly promoted employees.  The overall purpose of mentoring is to support a person in their career direction and development.

Key Principles

  • Engagement in a mentoring relationship is voluntary and must be agreeable to both parties
  • Trust is critical to successful mentoring so confidentiality is a key component
  • Mentors generally are not the direct manager of the mentee so as to avoid a conflict of interest
  • Supports skills and knowledge transfer and networking.

How do I access mentoring?
For more information on mentoring, check out mentoring website link or contact