The Differences Between Coaching & Mentoring
It’s understandable that you might think mentoring and coaching are similar or even the same thing.
But they’re not.
Both warrant consideration. Here are three differentiators that are important to know.
Having run successful Mentoring programs in the past, I watch as business owners expand their knowledge and confidence to try new things and listen to an “outsiders point of view” as it is much easier to see a direction from the “outside looking in”.
Coaching is task oriented. The focus is on concrete issues, such as managing more effectively, speaking more articulately, and learning how to think strategically. This requires a content expert (coach) who is capable of teaching the coachee how to develop these skills.
Mentoring is relationship oriented. It seeks to provide a safe environment where the mentoree shares whatever issues affect his or her professional and personal success. Although specific learning goals or competencies may be used as a basis for creating the relationship, its focus goes beyond these areas to include things, such as work/life balance, self-confidence, self-perception, and how the personal influences the professional.
Coaching is short term. A coach can successfully be involved with a coachee for a short period of time, maybe even just a few sessions. The coaching lasts for as long as is needed, depending on the purpose of the coaching relationship.
Mentoring is always long term. Mentoring, to be successful, requires time in which both partners can learn about one another and build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentoree can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her success. Successful mentoring relationships last nine months to a year.
Coaching is performance driven. The purpose of coaching is to improve the individual’s performance on the job. This involves either enhancing current skills or acquiring new skills. Once the coachee successfully acquires the skills, the coach is no longer needed.
Mentoring is development driven. Its purpose is to develop the individual not only for the current job, but also for the future. This distinction differentiates the role of the immediate manager and that of the mentor. It also reduces the possibility of creating conflict between the mentoree and the mentor.
Training is defined in the Collins English Dictionary as the “process of bringing a person to an agreed standard of proficiency by practice and instruction.”
Training is about passing on information, skills and knowledge. Training helps people to develop cognitive skills and capabilities.
When you need to learn a new skill, you need training. Whether you pay for it or not (& you should pay for it if you want to learn the professional quick way of doing things and not pick up other people’s bad habits) then training in a particular area is often identified.
While often directive “Do it this way” training is also delivered in a coaching, facilitative style. However this does not make it coaching.
The primary difference between the two is that training imparts information and coaching draws existing knowledge and understanding out of the person concerned.
Thanks to one of the regular Mentors I use for our programs for motivating me to get this out-gotta love the Mentors! They are all around us.
Wondering whether Mentoring is right for you?
Check out some of the comments from past Mentees and Mentors, who share what they learnt and feel about about their relationships.
I can see how much they have progressed from their graduation as well- the learning continues!