Unit of competency details

PSPGOV311A - Work with a coach or mentor (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to PSPGEN018 - Work with a coach or mentorUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. Assessment Requirements created drawing upon specified assessment information from superseded unit. 06/Mar/2016

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 01/Nov/2012
(View details for release 2) 07/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) 05/May/2009


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 120505 Work Practices Programmes 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 120505 Work Practices Programmes 24/May/2005 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History


TP Version 




Unit descriptor edited.



Layout adjusted. No changes to content.



Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers coaching/mentoring from the point of view of the person being coached/mentored. It includes arranging for coaching/mentoring, working with a coach/mentor and maximising coaching/mentoring results.

In practice, working effectively with a coach or mentor may overlap with other generalist or specialist public sector work activities such as acting ethically, complying with legislation, working effectively in the organisation, working with diversity, giving and receiving feedback, etc.

This unit is one of 4 units of competency in the Working in Government Competency Field that deal with coaching/mentoring. Related units are:

  • PSPGOV414A Provide workplace mentoring
  • PSPGOV415A Provide workplace coaching
  • PSPGOV506A Support workplace coaching and mentoring

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication

Application of the Unit

Not applicable.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements are the essential outcomes of the unit of competency.

Together, performance criteria specify the requirements for competent performance. Text in bold italics  is explained in the Range Statement following.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 . Arrange for coaching / mentoring 

1.1 The need for assistance is identified and the benefits of coaching  versus mentoring  discussed with others  to determine best option.

1.2 Coaching/mentoring is selected in accordance with the identified benefits.

1.3 A checklist is prepared to assist in explaining the purpose and desired outcomes of the coaching/mentoring arrangement.

1.4 Assistance  is obtained where necessary, to identify and approach suitable person/s to request coaching/mentoring in accordance with the coaching/mentoring plan.

1.5 Selected person/s are approached and a coaching/mentoring arrangement  is negotiated in accordance with the identified need, personal expectations, the ability of the coach/mentor to provide the service, cultural and other considerations .

2 . Work with a coach /mentor 

2.1 Ground rules  are established and realistic expectations set with the coach/mentor.

2.2 Options to attain goals are explored and a plan  is prepared with the coach/mentor to formalise the arrangement.

2.3 Coaching/mentoring input is used constructively in accordance with established goals.

2.4 Time is managed to achieve learning goals.

2.5 Progress is monitored and goals achieved or adjusted as required.

3 . Maximise coaching / mentoring results 

3.1 The initiative is taken to build and maintain the coaching/mentoring relationship.

3.2 Productive questions  are formulated and used to obtain information and feedback from coaching/mentoring.

3.3 Active listening  is used to ensure coaching/mentoring time is used productively.

3.4 Techniques  are used for resolving differences/problems without damaging the relationship, or assistance is obtained in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

3.5 New learning is consolidated  to maximise coaching/mentoring results.

3.6 Closure of the coaching/mentoring arrangement is negotiated once goals have been met or either party wishes to withdraw.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

  • applying legislation, regulations and policies relating to/impacting on coaching/mentoring in the public sector
  • using a range of communication techniques including active listening, questioning, giving and receiving feedback, negotiating, constructive conflict resolution
  • planning and setting objectives
  • self-assessing learning style, the need for coaching/mentoring and ongoing competency development
  • building coaching/mentoring relationships
  • responding to diversity, including gender and disability
  • applying procedures relating to occupational health and safety and environment in the context of coaching/mentoring

Knowledge requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

  • legislation, regulations, policies, procedures and guidelines relating to coaching/mentoring in the public sector such as those dealing with privacy, confidentiality, anti-discrimination, harassment, workplace bullying
  • the role of coaching and mentoring in competency development and career enhancement
  • differences between coaching and mentoring and the benefits of each
  • principles of emotional intelligence and its application to working in a one-to-one relationship with a coach/mentor
  • equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles
  • the value of diversity in a coaching/mentoring arrangement
  • public sector legislation such as occupational health and safety and environment in the context of coaching/mentoring

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together 

  • Pre-requisite units that must  be achieved prior  to this unit:Nil
  • Co-requisite units that must  be assessed with  this unit:Nil
  • Co-assessed units that may  be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:
  • PSPETHC301B Uphold the values and principles of public service
  • PSPGOV301B Work effectively in the organisation
  • PSPGOV302B Contribute to workgroup activities
  • PSPGOV303B Build and maintain internal networks
  • PSPGOV306B Implement change
  • PSPGOV307B Organise workplace information
  • PSPGOV308B Work effectively with diversity
  • PSPGOV312A Use workplace communication strategies
  • PSPGOV315A Give and receive workplace feedback
  • PSPLEGN301B Comply with legislation in the public sector.

Overview of evidence requirements 

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

  • the knowledge requirements of this unit
  • the skill requirements of this unit
  • application of Employability Skills as they relate to this unit
  • effectively working with a coach or mentor in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Resources required to carry out assessment 

These resources include:

  • legislation, organisational policy, procedures and protocols relating to coaching/mentoring
  • ground rules for coaching/mentoring agreements
  • current background materials on workplace coaching/mentoring
  • case studies and workplace scenarios to capture the range of coaching/mentoring arrangements likely to be encountered in the public sector

Where and how to assess evidence 

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

  • a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when working effectively with a coach or mentor, including coping with difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine
  • effectively working with a coach or mentor in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

  • people with disabilities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • young people
  • older people
  • people in rural and remote locations.

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

  • portfolios
  • projects
  • questioning
  • scenarios
  • authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training

For consistency of assessment 

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics  in the Performance Criteria is explained here.


  • has a focus on the acquisition of job skills and knowledge
  • is results oriented
  • is performance, success or goal directed
  • emphasises action or improved performance in a specific area
  • requires good interpersonal relations
  • is provided by a coach who:
  • provides learning opportunities or helps identify them
  • monitors performance
  • provides constructive feedback
  • is internal or external to the organisation/public sector
  • maintains confidentiality in the relationship


  • has a focus on personal growth and learning
  • includes a wide range of learning oriented to:
  • exchange of wisdom
  • support
  • guidance in personal or professional growth
  • is a relationship, not simply focused on a procedure or activity
  • is one person professionally assisting the professional development of another
  • is a developmental effort to build skills and knowledge for advancement based on merit, rather than alliances/politically-based partnerships to advance careers based on politics rather than aptitude
  • is provided by a mentor who:
  • facilitates the mentoree's professional growth
  • provides information, guidance and constructive comments
  • evaluates the mentoree's plans and decisions
  • supports, encourages and, where necessary, highlights shortfalls in agreed performance
  • maintains confidentiality in the relationship

Others  may include:

  • supervisor
  • peers
  • counsellor
  • support person
  • case manager

Assistance  may be provided by: 

  • supervisor
  • peers
  • counsellor
  • support person
  • case manager

Coaching /mentoring arrangements  may include:

  • internal partnership
  • purchased service from outside the organisation

Cultural and other considerations  may include:

  • choosing a coach/mentor with compatible attributes or very different attributes depending on the purpose and objectives of the relationship
  • age
  • cultural background
  • disability
  • educational level
  • ethnicity
  • expertise
  • family responsibilities
  • gender
  • interests
  • interpersonal approach
  • language
  • learning/thinking styles
  • life experience
  • marital status
  • personality
  • physical ability
  • political orientation
  • religious belief
  • sexual orientation
  • socio-economic background
  • work experience
  • working styles

Ground rules  may include:

  • relationship is voluntary
  • arrangement is confidential
  • coaching/mentoring partners should not be in the same chain of command
  • mentor should not be a direct manager of the person being mentored
  • coach may be supervisor of the person being coached
  • for internal arrangements during work hours, supervisors of both coaching/mentoring partners must approve
  • coach/mentor's guidance and counsel does not supersede that of the supervisor in work-related matters
  • training for coaching/mentoring partners
  • a coaching/mentoring agreement
  • active involvement of both partners in the coaching/mentoring process
  • fee for service/contractual arrangement
  • accessibility of coach/mentor
  • options to finalise arrangements

Coaching /mentoring plan  may include:

  • explicit expectations/purpose
  • well-defined objectives
  • problems (past, present, future) that may constrain achievement of the objectives
  • clear statement of what the coach/mentor would do
  • goals set by the organisation (coaching)
  • goals set by the individual and the coach/mentor
  • expected timeframe/time commitments
  • meeting arrangements - face-to-face, distance, email

Productive questions  may include:

  • open rather than closed:
  • what?
  • why?
  • when?
  • how?
  • where?
  • who?

Active listening  may include:

  • listening for central ideas
  • considering how information applies to the situation/person
  • identifying/eliminating emotional triggers
  • using techniques for staying in touch with what the speaker is saying, as thought speed outstrips speed of speech
  • paraphrasing
  • summarising
  • using silence to elicit additional information
  • using and recognising body language

Techniques  for resolving differences may include:

  • finding a mutually beneficial solution
  • inviting discussion
  • providing explanations for rejecting advice that is not accepted
  • not laying blame
  • using 'I' messages
  • agreeing to end the relationship and seek alternative arrangement with someone else

Ways to consolidate  learning may include:

  • identifying patterns
  • reviewing learning soon after it occurs
  • recording learning in writing, on audiotape or using diagrams
  • discussing learning with others
  • rehearsing
  • arranging additional practice
  • applying learning in real work situations

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Working in Government.