Three tips to coach and mentor junior employees

Over the past few years, I’ve been working with teams and also had the privilege of managing people. Even though it was fairly hard at the start and I made a lot of mistakes, I also learned a lot and found ways to teach, coach, and mentor my team members.

I love coaching, mentoring, and sharing knowledge whenever I can. I’ve done this more formally, with my direct reports and interns, but also more informally to those around me seeking advice. If you are in a position to share knowledge – and you don’t need to be managing people or have decades of experience – just share your bits and let others benefit from it. I encourage you to do so and give back whenever you can.

Below, you can find a few three tips to coach and mentor junior employees and help with sharing the knowledge, especially when they’re at the start of their careers.


Chair pose2
An office outfit that I can’t wait to wear.

Three tips to coach and mentor junior employees:


Truly coach them – Don’t give the answers. It’s tempting, but coaching is invaluable. Ask questions, probe them, check in with them but let them do the hard work on their own. This is truly the only way to learn in my opinion. Also, if they ever ask something that they can Google, you need to set the record straight. Rule #1 is to never ask something that you can Google. I never shy from telling this to the people around me. I am the first to want to share my knowledge and help others but I don’t have time to waste. This has to be clear from the beginning and while it may sound harsh, it’s what will help build strong performers.


Push them to do better than they think – It might feel hard to push your team over the edge of what they think they are capable of, but I truly believe that as a manager it is your duty to empower people to achieve more than they ever thought they are able to do. And even more so with junior people. I think there is a tricky balance here and you need to make sure you are also there to have their back or support with knowledge where needed, so they don’t feel alone, but give them enough autonomy to succeed on their own; even though you are in the shadows. It’s so rewarding to see them realise what they’ve done, especially when they did not believe that they could!


Help lay their career’s foundation – You most likely want to coach your team members into strong performers and unlocking their potential. Often, I focus on teaching the skills that lay the foundations for their careers and help them throughout. If it’s the case of an intern and I know they will be with me just for a short time, I like to make sure they can take away at least one lifelong career learning that is going to be useful again and again. This, for example, can be a problem-solving mindset, the importance of networking, or communicating effectively. The point is not for them to master these skills so quickly but simply to start building that foundation.


What are your tips for coaching junior employees? Anything to add?


  1. I think the first rule is SOOOOO important and underrated. The power of guiding someone rather than telling them something they can find on google is truly powerful!

    1. Definitely! I think there is a place for both of them but choosing wisely which situations require coaching are going to help them grow and also strengthen your relationship with them.

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