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EVM4 - Mentoring and Supporting volunteers

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The resources found in this module can be used in any kind of training that you would like to adapt them for -  a formal training course, informal gathering, workshop, meeting, open day, on site demonstration, online training or any other opportunity for people to learn about recruiting and retaining volunteers. There is no copyright.

EVM4 Module Content

One of the key lessons for a volunteer manager is that they achieve results through the work of volunteers rather than doing the work themselves. A vital set of skills for developing volunteers so that they are effective in their role and continue to gain satisfaction from it is the set of skills associated with coaching or mentoring.

The two sets of training resources below address mentoring and supporting volunteers in different ways.

The first supports a course on Working with Volunteers in the National Trust, which emphasises the importance of good organisational processes. It includes interesting material on why people volunteer and the benefits to an organisation and suggests several creative ways of involving people.  Although it is set in a National Trust context, there are many parallels with working with volunteers in any context. To give two examples - an exercise on thinking about a volunteer’s journey with a group or organisation and the strengths and weaknesses of the support at each phase of the journey and a series of ten case studies exploring scenarios familiar to many volunteer managers

The second has a more interpersonal focus being purely about the skills of coaching. Based around the well-known GROW model it covers the similarities and differences between coaching, mentoring, counselling and training as well as the three key elements of learning to coach - the skills involved, the core steps in a successful coaching session and the underlying approach that makes for effective coaching. Trainers may wish to review some of the language, which may sound more appropriate to a staff context than a volunteer one. The skills and concepts it describes are generic.

The material available here will help you setting up your training course, but the way you use the resources will, obviously, depend on your audience, their situation and what, specifically, they want to achieve. The resources have been created by people working in medium to large organisations and reflect the context and culture of those organisations.

Subject Resources

National Trust

The Conservation Volunteers


There is a plethora of books, films and web resources devoted to mentoring and coaching. These are the primary resources used in developing the coaching skills training detailed in this module.

Coaching for performance, third edition 2003, John Whitmore. Nicholas Brealey Publishing

The Inner Game of Work, 2000. Timothy Gallwey

Human Givens, 2003. Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell. HG Publishing.

Coaching, a self-study guide. 1997. Ann Baker and Louise Clare. Echelon Learning Limited.