The British Sociological Association Annual Conference: Challenging Social Hierarchies and Inequalities, 24th-26th April 2019, Glasgow Caledonian University

Abstract by Dr Tina Salter

Developing coaching programmes for young people

Mentoring and coaching have both been cited as effective tools in supporting individuals through significant transitional life stages (Lancer et al, 2016). However, the dominant one-to-one support mechanism for young people transitioning into adulthood is mentoring (Salter, 2014). Many mentoring programmes targeted at young people are based on a deficit model (Philip, 2008) and could inadvertently form a barrier to successful youth transition into adulthood. Examples of programmes targeting young people labelled at risk of ‘emotional and behavioural difficulties’ (Caldarella et al, 2009) or ‘not in education, employment or training’ (Colley, 2006) are plentiful. Whilst the mentors themselves work professionally and may not even be aware of the underlying deficit model, the agenda for these programmes often is to re-socialise those young people.

Theoretical constructs which address coaching for young people are underrepresented in the literature, but can be evidenced in practice. Whilst coaching models can also be based on deficit constructs, there is evidence to suggest coaching offers greater flexibility towards a strengths-based approach. To coach rather than mentor a young person would necessitate the coach facilitating self-directed learning (Knowles & Knowles, 1955). This is collaborative in approach and encourages the young person to identify what it is they would like to work on (rather than serve the agenda of the referrer) and support them to take responsibility for any change or new ways of thinking and self-management.

This paper draws on case study research capturing practice-based examples of coaching for young people and compares findings to well-documented examples of youth mentoring.


Caldarella, P., Adams, M., Valentine, S., Young, K. (2009), Evaluating of a Mentoring Program for Elementary School Students at Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, New Horizons in Education, Vol.57 n1, pp.1-16

Coleman, J. (1974): Youth: Transition to Adulthood, NASSB Bulletin, Vol.58 Iss.385, pp.4-11

Colley, H. (2006), Mentoring for young people not in education, employment or training: a ‘NEET’ solution, but to whose problems? Nuffield Review, available at:

Evans, T. (2005), How Does Mentoring a Disadvantaged Young Person Impact on the Mentor?  International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Vol.3, No.2, pp.17-29

Knowles, M. & Knowles, H. (1955), How to Develop Better Leaders, New York: Association Press

Lancer, N., Clutterbuck, D. & Megginson, D. (2016), Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring, Routledge: London

Philip, K. (2008), Youth Mentoring – A Case for Treatment? Youth and Policy, No.99, pp.17-31

Salter, T. (2014), Mentor and Coach: Disciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Special Issue No. 8

About the Author:

Dr Tina Salter is Senior Lecturer and HE Programmes Director at the YMCA George Williams College. She completed her doctoral research at Oxford Brookes University where she was awarded Doctor of Coaching and Mentoring in 2014. Her supervisor was Dr Judie Gannon, Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. The title of her thesis was: A comparison of mentor and coach approaches across disciplines.