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Mentoring & Coaching

People leaders offer excellent resources of knowledge and support through coaching and development to employees looking for career growth and development.

Cornell also offers two formal programs to support development and career growth:

  • The first, Coaching by internal certified coaches, is another method of career development.
  • The second, Mentoring, is offered by individuals who choose to be mentors from across Cornell, and is focused on developing specific skills as well as careers.

Executive Coaching at Cornell

What is coaching?

Coaching is one of the most effective tools available to take leadership development to a deeper and more sustainable level — whether focused on the individual or on your entire organization. Coaches expand perspective, inspire, and provide challenge and support and helps drive transformational change. Coaching can help people at any level in their roles, or help workgroups through team coaching, unlock their full potential.

How Coaching Works

The coach will ask questions of the individual being coached, or the coachee. This will create an opportunity for the coachee to think through and discover strategies to realize their strengths and opportunities, and unlock even greater success and effectiveness. In addition to asking questions, the coach will share teachings, provide feedback to promote learning and growth and the ability to build long-term strategy, capabilities, problem-solving skills, and processing skills. All of this is designed to teach the coachee to self-coach and discover solutions.

All of our internally offered high-impact coaching sessions are offered at no cost to the coachee or their department. Coaching sessions, usually four-to-six months in duration meeting every three weeks, can be delivered virtually, via phone or in-person allowing for unparalleled flexibility to meet your needs.

Get Started

Coaching is a valuable investment in yourself to help you be more successful in leveraging your skills and talents in your role and in all areas of your life. If you'd like to get started with coaching, please complete this Coaching Request form and we will pair you with one of our amazing coaches. If you would like to become a coach contact Kathy Burkgren at


What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a collaborative, at-will relationship in which an experienced person provides advice, support and encouragement to a less experienced person or a colleague looking to further develop new skills. The role of a mentor is that of an advisor, who leads through discussion, guidance, and example; the mentee is the person who is being mentored. With mentoring, the mentee is speaking about 20 percent of the time and the mentor is speaking about 80 percent of the time, sharing their experiences, learnings, and wisdom in a certain area of expertise.

Am I qualified to be a mentor?

There is not a ‘qualification’ for mentoring, but there are a few attributes, personal and professional, that make a good mentor. Being able to spot opportunities for development, fostering a supportive relationship and being patient, open, encouraging, supportive and non-judgmental. When the mentee and mentor meet, the meeting agenda is determined by the mentee. That individual brings the topics they would like to talk about, learnings they would like to have, and any questions they have for the mentor.

What is the time commitment?

This mentoring program is focused on skill development. The initial commitment is approximately four hours, two meetings a month (typically an hour long), for two months or four meetings. You can choose to lengthen the commitment as you wish, it is up to you.

Every mentoring relationship is different. The mentee should work with the mentor to determine how often you will be meeting and for how long, based on availability and the focus of the conversations.

Get Started

Sign-up via the Workday using this link: Mentoring. Follow these instructions to sign up as a mentor or to find a mentor or do both: Click on the link, ‘Yes, I’m Interested in Being a Mentor'. Or, ‘Yes, I would like to be a Mentee.’ Or you can sign up to be both a mentor and mentee. Once you sign up, you will then be invited to a brief orientation session.