County Extension directors (CEDs) are Extension agents who have both programmatic and administrative responsibilities. A critical role of Florida CEDs is to coach and mentor new Extension agents in their county office. Most literature surrounding the onboarding process of new Extension hires focuses on Extension agents within their first year on the job, with little attention on their subsequent years on the job. This study sought to understand the coaching and mentoring experiences of early career Extension agents (one to three years on the job) received from CEDs. Findings revealed eight major themes, including CED years of experience as an agent, lack of CED onboarding, and intentionality of meeting regularly. Overall, CEDs were substantially more optimistic about their early career agents’ coaching and mentoring experiences than the agents themselves, revealing a major difference in perception regarding the impact of this critical CED role. UF/IFAS Extension should provide more resources to create needed onboarding training for new CEDs and tools to help CEDs be more effective coaches and mentors for new and early career Extension agents.



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