Coaching, Mentoring – what’s the difference? Rachel Lofthouse explains – PP247

Professor Rachel Lofthouse

Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education in the Carnegie School of Education. She has a specific research interest in professional learning, exploring how teachers learn and how they can be supported to put that learning into practice. 

Rachel joined Leeds Beckett University in July 2017, and has established the Research and Practice Centre ‘CollectivED: The Mentoring and Coaching Hub’.

Rachel is a teaching educator and researcher. She has a particular interest in how teachers learn through approaches such as coaching, mentoring, lesson study, professional enquiry and inter-professional practice. She marries these interests with a concern for the development of innovative pedagogies and curriculum design. Key to all of these are the opportunities for that professionals at all stages of their career and in all roles have for dialogue and creative and critical thinking.

Rachel works with student teachers and their school-based mentors, teacher coaches, postgraduate students and school leaders as well as a range of educational practitioners, including those interested in community curriculum development and professional coaching for speech and language support in multicultural early years and primary settings.

Mark speaks to Rachel this week about her varied and fascinating background as well as her thoughts on the value of mentoring and coaching – and also what the difference is.

There’s also, of course, time for our favourite question – “What’s the best thing you’ve ever learned from a child” and Rachel’s favourite passage from a book.

Rachel’s Leeds Becket University page

Rachel on Twitter

1 thought on “Coaching, Mentoring – what’s the difference? Rachel Lofthouse explains – PP247

  1. It was interesting to listen to the ideas about a spectrum… I certainly agree with this and find the clear delineation between the two roles confusing. Even when you look at formal models there is cross-over between the two. What was particularly interesting for me was the definition of coach and mentor (probably the opposite way around to how I would see them)… I see the coach as more directive and structured and then began to wonder if this is because of context – I am also a teacher educator and am well aware that the mentor’s role in teacher education is a directive one (there are lots of reasons for this … fear of judgements from outside bodies etc) but in other contexts this isn’t necessarily the case. This prompted me to do a quick search on how others view the differences and find that there is a lot of confusion out there! This is a little muddied by things such as life coaching (again a very definite role). So where I am left with this is the confusion caused by labelling… Do we need a rethink about labels? … Make them more specific (such as Teacher Mentor, Business Coach) we do have some of that already. Or is it better to remove the labels altogether?

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