Do you want to know the difference between coaching and mentoring and which of them benefits an entrepreneur more? If YES, here is a detailed comparison.

Coaching and mentoring are two words that almost mean same thing and can be used interchangeably. This is because a coach can comfortably carry out the job of a mentor and a mentor can also successfully carry out the functions of a coach.

Howbeit, to become a professional coach, you would need some form of certification, but this is not necessarily so for a mentor. In order to get a proper perspective of the difference between coaching and mentoring, we need to look at the definition of a coach and a mentor.

Who is a Coach?

A coach or preferably a business coach is person who focuses on specific skills and development goals by breaking them into concrete tasks to be completed within a specified period of time. The overall aim of a business coach is to help their clients stretch out and fully maximize their potential and achieve results that ordinarily they may not be able to achieve on their own.

Business coaches handle this challenge by helping businesses prioritize their goals on the basis of importance. They follow a more formal, structured approach to resolve issues and manage specific aspects of the job.

Job Description of a Business Coach

  • A good business coach focuses on identifying goals, prioritizing them and choosing the right path to achieve them. In doing so, business coaches help businesses become more accountable, goal-driven and competitive.
  • Business coaches cover various aspects of running a successful business. These may include sales targets, marketing strategies, communication skills, team building, leadership and more.
  • Coaches comprehensively assess businesses to recognize their core strength and growth challenges. Based on their assessment, they help formulate a plan or strategy, set targets and identify the steps required to achieve the desired results.
  • Business coaches challenge the status quo, questions business decisions and prompts organizations to take a closer look at their approach. This way, they bring in a fresh perspective to the business strategy and goals. But rather than simply questioning how things are run at a business, a coach guides the organization to adopt appropriate growth strategies.
  • Business coach will assist the business owner in running a business by helping them clarify the vision of their business and how it fits in with their personal goals. Business coaching is a process used to take a business from where it is now to where the business owner wants it to be.

Who is a Mentor?

A mentor basically is an experienced and trusted adviser who offers their knowledge, expertise and advice to those with less experience. By leveraging their experience and skills, mentors guide mentees in the right path in life. In the corporate world, a mentor helps mentees consider opportunities for career growth, gain confidence and improve interpersonal skills.

A mentor’s role evolves as the needs of his/her mentees change over time. In most instances, mentoring relationships are informal, while at times such relationships could be more formal. In formal mentoring relationships, mentors follow a structured approach to set realistic expectations and gain mutual benefits.

Job Description of a Mentor

  • A mentor is expected to share his or her experience and useful information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.
  • A mentor is expected to help his mentee in exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources.
  • A mentor provides support to the mentees with regard to their career growth and interpersonal skill development. Specifically, a mentor helps mentees explore their career options, set development goals, develop new contacts and identify resources. In this way, a mentor serves as a professional advisor and role model for the mentees.
  • Good mentors are always willing to share their skills and knowledge with the mentees. Since they have faced the same challenges as their mentees, they are more empathetic towards their needs.
  • Mentor are responsible for inspiring and building trust and confidence in their mentees, hence a good mentor must possess a positive and can-do attitude
  • Mentors help employees gain more confidence in their work and develop skills to add value. Confident and satisfied employees steer organizations forward, which explains why a number of businesses are now shifting their focus towards identifying the right mentoring programs.

What’s the Difference Between a Coach and a Mentor?

From the above description of the functions of a coach and a mentor, we can easily highlight some of the differences between coaching and mentoring and they are;

1. Professional coaching requires professional coaching certifications, while a mentor just needs to be experienced to be able to successful mentor a mentee.

2. Coaching is carried out in a short period of time and it could for days or weeks while mentoring is a long-term process based on mutual trust and respect from the mentor and mentee.

3. Coaching is carried out in a well – structured and formal approach while mentoring is more focused on creating an informal association between the mentor and mentee.

4. A coach does not need to have hands-on experience to be able to coach a client in any field, but a mentor is expected to have first-hand experience of the mentee’s career, profession or business.

5. A coach’s major aim is to improve performance that impacts a client’s specific needs or present job while a mentor is saddled with the task of helping a mentee develop skills that are not just relevant to their present job, but also for the future.

Solomon. O'Chucks