Although 80% of organisations surveyed by the Work Foundation used coaching and 73% used mentoring, only 21% provided guidance or training to their coaches.
Some 64% of respondents used coaching to develop job-specific or technical skills, 50% used it for management development and 47% used it for leadership skills.
Mentoring generally focused on developing long-term skills and career prospects.
The criteria for becoming a coach included experience (55%), good communication skills (50%) and the ability to act as good role model (43%).
"It is encouraging that so many organisations are recognising the benefits of coaching and mentoring", said Stephen Bevan, director of research at the Work Foundation. "What is worrying, however, is that so few are prepared to invest in competent practice. A good coach or mentor can make a massive difference to individual and organisational performance. But a bad one can be an unguided missile and do considerable damage."
The report also provided examples of good coaching and mentoring at companies including BT, the Inland Revenue, Microsoft UK and Peugeot.