Coach or Mentor?

I’m frequently asked about the difference between coaches and mentors. It is true that great coaches often become dedicated mentors. The definition of a mentor is: “A person who gives another person the benefit of his or her years of experience and/or education. This is experience that is shared in such a way that the mentor helps to develop a mentee’s skills and abilities, benefiting the mentee and the organization.” However, there are clear differences between a coach and a mentor.

Why Mentoring is Different than Coaching?

As I said, coaching is not the same as mentoring. Mentoring is concerned with the development of the whole person and driven by the person’s own work/life goals. It is usually unstructured and informal. Coaching is much more about achieving specific objectives in a particular way. Coaching is also more formal and more structured, usually around a coaching process or methodology.

In other words, mentoring is less skill-based and more of a relationship-based process. A good mentoring relationship is identified by the willingness and capability of both parties to ask questions, challenge assumptions and disagree.

The mentor is far less likely to have a direct-line relationship with the mentee, and in a mentoring relationship, this distance is desirable. Mentoring is rarely a critical part of an individual’s job role but rather an extra element that rewards the mentor with fresh thinking as well as the opportunity to transfer knowledge and experience to a less experienced colleague, peer or employee.

So whats right for you?


One thought on “Coach or Mentor?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s