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Exploring career mentoring and coaching
Exploring career mentoring and coaching

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2.1 The 5 C Model

This model (Pegg, 1999, p. 139) supports a mentee who wants to focus on a particular set of challenges or has a range of options to decide between. The 5 Cs are:

  • Challenges – an issue or problem the mentee is currently facing
  • Choices – the options available to them for dealing with that issue or problem
  • Consequences – the consequences of choosing one option over another
  • Creative solutions – other solutions that the mentor and mentee might come up with during their discussion
  • Conclusions – a decision about what to do next and a commitment to take action.

Keele University (no date) offers a useful list of the possible questions that a mentor could ask at each stage, including:


  • Which is the first challenge you would like to explore?
  • Can you give me a picture of what is happening?
  • What would be a positive outcome?


  • What do you see as the possible options you have for tackling the challenge?
  • What have you tried before? What were the consequences?
  • What do you think would happen if you did nothing?


  • What do you see as the pluses and minuses involved in pursuing Option A? B? C?
  • How attractive do you find each of these options?
  • Take a minute to rate each of the possible solutions (from 1–10) – and to consider why you have given them these ratings.

Creative solutions

  • Is it possible to take the best parts from each option and create a new road? How would this look?
  • Have you ever been in a similar situation in the past and managed it successfully? What did you do?
  • Are there any other people, teams or institutions that have successfully managed this kind of challenge? What did they do to manage it successfully?
  • What would you do if you could start all over again tomorrow?


  • Let’s explore the option you have chosen – What will be the pluses? What will be the minuses? Bearing these consequences in mind, are you prepared to go ahead?
  • What steps must you take to reach your goals/outcomes?
  • How can you take these steps? When do you want to begin?
  • What can you do to get some early successes?