Coaching vs. Mentoring: They Are Not as Alike as You May Think
When you think of coaching vs mentoring many things may come to mind. You may have had personal experience with one or the other.
Maybe you’ve dealt with a career coach at the company you work for. Perhaps you have had success with a mentor during college.
There are many reasons why people or an organization would want to hire either coaches or mentors. The reason is often to provide expertise in an area.
It is also to support, give resources, and to build relationships. Deciding between coaching vs. mentoring depends on your needs and goals.
Which are you interested in getting involved with?
The Differences Between Coaching and Mentoring
Mentoring and coaching have a lot of similar qualities. They also have clear differences.
Mentoring is designed to match a mentor with a mentee. The focus of a mentor is broad and can last as long as the mentee would like. The purpose is to create a positive relationship between the two. This will help the mentee achieve his or her goals.
There is a difference in the definition of coaching.
“Mentoring creates meaningful connections that can positively impact the lives of both mentor and mentee. Those who receive mentorship are more likely to see improved academic, social, and economic prospects. Those who mentor are able to further build important leadership, management and creative skills, while giving back to their community,” (YouthMentor).
Coaching involves a coaching cycle that is based on long-term goals of the person being coached. This is only done for a short amount of time. The coachee’s goal(s) drives the type of specific coaching given.
“The Institute of Coaching cites that over 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. They also reported that a huge 86% of companies feel that they recouped the investment they made into coaching plus more on top,” (Forbes).
Review the chart below to learn more about the difference between mentoring and coaching.
|Who benefits from being mentored and coached:|
Youth or college-aged students
Youth with challenging life circumstances
Youth in need of an older role-model
Employees transitioning into a new industry
Adults wanting to network with others in their field
Those wanting personal and professional growth
Adults seeking employee development and career growth
Those with identified deficits that are looking to change
Adults wanting to increase performance and skills in an area in their life
Individuals wanting more confidence and self-esteem
Adults wanting to improve their relationships
Those who have specific goals with a specific timeline
|Who mentors and coaches others:|
Anyone who volunteers and is accepted into a program
Adults seeking to mentor youth
Youth-to-youth mentors within education
Colleague-to-colleague mentors within a business
A coach who has expertise in a specific area
Business coaches who are tasked with working with certain employees
Certified coaches, i.e. an instructional or relationship coach
Those brought into organizations to work with employee challenges
Leaders and executives who have a lot of experience in a field
|Goals/focus of mentoring and coaching:|
To be a role-model for the mentee
To build trust and rapport with the mentee
The focus is on building a long-term relationship
To assist with skill advancement and help provide opportunities the mentee may not have had otherwise
Typically based on SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive)
The focus is more on time-sensitive priorities
Take supervisor or employees’ vision and help create solutions
Focus on empowering people through the coaching relationship
|Mentoring and coaching time commitment:|
Depends on mentor and mentee expectations
Individuals work out a schedule
Depends on the purpose and mission
Depends on how the coaching cycle goes (if change and success are happening)
|Common settings for mentoring and coaching:|
Out in the community
At a workplace with a business mentor
On a job training site
At a school or university
In the home
At a workplace with a business coach or certified coach within that field
In a college degree or certification program
In a session at a coach’s personal office
|Outcomes/results of being mentored and coached:|
An increase in self-esteem and confidence
Gain support and encouragement
Career development and an increase in skills
The formation of a positive relationship
New connections made within a community
Improvement in professional skills
Meet priority SMART goals
Learn about collaboration
Take a deep dive into work issues and learn techniques to to solve them
There are definitely slight similarities between coaching and mentoring. However, the setting, role, and approach of the coach and mentor have more than one difference. You can see this from the chart.
Next, read about a few scenarios in which a mentor and a coach might be involved in.
Mentoring and Coaching Scenario Examples
Natasha just started graduate school. There are different mentoring programs at her university. She gets the email address of her advisor and reaches out.
The advisor matches her up with Kate, the mentor, who is in her last year in the same degree program. Natasha wants help to transition from undergrad into the graduate department. There are questions she has about research papers.
She also wants to know about the thesis at the end of the program and getting resources. Natasha can use Kate throughout the mentoring process. She will gain the skills she needs to complete her program and be successful.
Tim, a teacher, has been recommended to go through an education coach certification program. When he finishes, he will be his school’s Language Arts Education Coach. His duties will be to meet with teachers on a person-to-person and group basis to discuss needs.
Throughout the coaching cycle, he will work with the teachers to improve skills. In the end, the goal will be to improve student academic achievement. During his program, he will learn to steer talks surrounding teacher SMART goals.
He will use questioning skills to guide teachers to problem-solve themselves. At the end of the coaching cycle, teachers should have made progress on their goal.
Tim is empowering the teachers through the coaching relationship. This scenario is also similar to what a business coach does.
The difference between coaching vs mentoring is important. Someone who is looking to hire a coach is going to have a different type of goal and focus.
Someone seeking a mentor may simply just want a role-model in their life. Regardless of which a person chooses, they will benefit greatly from the relationship.
To learn more about mentoring and what may be right for you, check out the Wayahead website or download the app.