How Is Coaching Different From Mentoring?

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Coaching and mentoring are terms that may seem very similar at first glance. Both of these are used as a tool to develop behaviour for both personal and professional support.

They both help others grow to let them reach their full potential by taking responsibility for their personal growth. Philosophically, coaching and mentoring are considered to be the same. However, these terms cannot be used interchangeably, and the reason lies in the fact that the structure and outcome of both are different. 

It is essential to learn about the differences between mentoring and coaching to help people identify whether they need assistance from any mentor or coach. Let’s dive into the detail of the differences between them. 

Coaching v. Mentoring 



The best thing to start with is the respective definitions of coaching and mentoring.



  • Coaching is the partnership of a trained coach with the client who guides the client through a thought-provoking process to help them maximise their potential and achieve their goal. 

  • Coaching is provided as a job by professional coaches who get training from an organisation or have the experience to deliver results for their clients. 



  • In simple words, a mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. 

  • It is a kind of employee training where a senior individual acts as an advisor to guide the junior employee. They provide support and feedback to the mentees. A mentor is usually a person with relevant more experience from a senior position within the same domain as a mentee. 




  • Coaching is time-restrained and often just requires short-term assistance, for example, coaching is likely to only last up to six months, in aspiration to accomplish a particular goal. However, the duration may elongate, all depending upon the plan under consideration. 



  • Mentorship lasts a longer time when compared to coaching. It tends to be one year, two years, or even longer. 




  • The focus of coaching is performance-driven and helps to improve the performance of the professional or individual, based on the goals or ambitions they outline. 




  • Mentoring takes a more holistic approach to the development of professionals. This not only focuses on the current job but instead works for longer-term growth. 




  • Coaching is a planned and structured process with scheduled meetings regularly, weekly, biweekly, or monthly. It can be flexible based on the individuals’ needs and wants.



  • Mentoring is more of an informal process where meetings are random and depend upon the requirements of the person experiencing this style of learning.




  • Coaches are specific and are hired when they have expertise in an area where their clients need help for improvement. 

  • For example: If you need help in interpersonal communication, you will hire a different coach compared to when you need help to improve presentation skills or your general life relationships. 



  • Mentoring is usually sought from within the same organisation. A mentor is usually a senior employee with more experience in a concerned area than the mentee. The most common type of mentor is a business mentor.

  • A mentee gets inspiration and learns from the life experiences of his mentor…as does a person having a session with a coach in this instance.




  • Coaches are specifically skilled in the area in which they provide coaching. They are trained personnel or have extensive know how in the area that they coach. 



  • A mentor does not need to learn mentorship. They simply share their experiences with the mentee to allow them to make less mistakes and be more successful. A mentor does not require any formal training. 




  • To meet the specific requirement, the individual requesting coaching and the coach collaborate to design a particular plan for the coaching sessions in order to meet the required objective. 


  • The individual undergoing mentorship often sets the plan as they know and appreciate the vast experience of the mentor and pick and choose exactly what they want to learn more about. 




  • The coach usually asks thought-provoking questions that trigger the mental capacities of the client. Coaches use the questions as a tool to check the behavioural change, decision making, and thinking abilities of the person they are coaching. 


In mentoring sessions, usually, the mentee asks the questions to satiate their thirst for getting the information and knowledge they feel that they require or simply want to know.




  • The outcome of coaching sessions is observable as one can see the difference and desirable improvement in the attitude and behaviour of the client. 


  • Mentoring is not specific, and so particular results cannot be measured so easily. It will result in an overall improvement in the development of the individual seeking this style of learning but the optimal outcome can often shift over time. 



When considering the levels of engagement, coaching can be both a formal and informal relationship between the coach and their client. 


Mentoring is considered to be more of an informal process as often the client already knows the mentor organically. It can also be a formal process in the sense that it can be part of a role or job that needs to be completed for business success.

When to hire a mentor or a coach? 

After getting a basic understanding of the difference between a coach and a mentor, you should decide whether to engage with a coach or a mentor. 

Are you still confused? 

Don't worry, now we’ll delve into a little more detail about when may be considered the correct time to hire a coach or a mentor...or neither?

When to reach out to a Coach?

The following are some conditions to take into account to help identify when to seek the services of a coach:


  • When you want to develop a talent of some particular new skill. 

  • When you want to help an experienced professional to learn any innovative skill. 

  • When you want to help your team where they are not operating at the peak of their performance or capabilities. 

  • When you want to assist your manager in collaborating with another organisation and adapt to the merging changes with a blend of cultures.

  • When your organisation is opting for some advancement, and you want to prepare the professionals for it. 

  • When you want to improve attitude on some particular issue. 

  • & much much more…

When to engage with a Mentor?

When you encounter the following situations, you may prefer to consult with a mentor rather than a coach:


  • When you want to motivate talented people to put more focus on their task. 

  • When you want to inspire people to look for better opportunities. 

  • When you want to enhance the leadership development of any professional. 

  • When you want to make a knowledge legacy from senior to junior. 

  • When you want to improve the cross-cultural and inter-cultural relationship within an organisation. 

  • When you want to provide mentoring to others. 

Final verdict - get help from either a Mentor or a Coach 

After reading the above conditions, you must clarify whether you want a mentor or a coach to get assistance from. Both will help you achieve your targets. In both relationships, the most important thing is trust, confidentiality, and respect. Some people even use multiple coaches and mentors to make their dreams come true. 

Ready to speak to a coach or a mentor? 

You are at the right place! Find the perfect coach for you in a few clicks – explore the coaches that we host at Adviice in the following areas:

•    Life Coaching
•    Career Coaching
•    Business Coaching 
•    Health & Wellness
•    Mindset Coaching
•    Leadership Coaching
•    Relationship Coaching
•    Marketing Specialists

•    Psychology Specialists
•    Startup/Entrepreneurship Coaching
•    & More

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