There are a lot of ways to help yourself and your employees in professional and personal development today. Continuing education through specialized courses, lecture series on common topics in the industry, or soft skills workshops are just a few examples. And recently, two new methods have become the focus of attention: coaching and mentoring.
We offer to understand what is the difference between mentor and coach and which one do you really need.
Mentor versus coach
The goal of both specialists is the same: it is about optimally preparing the employee for the upcoming professional tasks. To achieve this, they are both follow a particular guideline.
For example, coaching and mentoring are aimed primarily to beginners. It is the sharing of skills, imparting of wisdom and passing on of knowledge in personal contact. They can ask concrete questions and receive concrete answers, adapting their procedure if it is necessary. At the end of the coaching/mentoring program, the junior staff should have learned all the skills needed. In the process of their work, both the coach and the mentor strive to teach a man to fish, not to give him a fish.
But if these professionals have a lot in common, what is the difference between a coach and a mentor?
Let’s learn more about these professions to differentiate between coaching and mentoring.
During the work, coach focuses on particular skills. They receive a specific request from their clients. For example, you want to become a good orator, or you don’t see further directions for development in your company. Coaches can break goals into tasks and specify the period during which they should be finished.
A lot of companies, especially startups, have issues with their mission, goals, vision, with setting and prioritizing their next stages. That’s why they need a professional business coach who knows how to resolve problems and manage them from different sides. But this does not exclude that they also need mentoring. Yes, there is a difference between coaching and mentoring, but you can consider them separately, opposing coaching vs mentoring or you can leverage both tools to your advantage.
What does a coach do?
With a good coach you can make your business more rival, purposeful and responsible.
These professionals can focus on different aspects of a company:
- marketing strategy;
- sales target;
- design thinking;
- oratory skills;
- SCRUM and more.
A difference between a mentor and a coach is that a mentor is usually oriented on a single particular skill. For example, coaches may have a lot of training, dedicated to different topics from the same field. They are wider specialists then mentors who have a strict specialization.
Professional comprehensively assesses the company to recognize its growth challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. Based on their results, they help an entrepreneur or a manager to define their strategy and formulate goals, to make them SMART. When the project is too complicated, coaches split it into parts. All these are necessary for achieving the desired targets.
A difference in coaching and mentoring is in their education and specialization. While some share professional best practices, others are more likely personal. Usually, mentor is the same employee of the company, who has a strong experience and offers it to those employees who have less experience. For example, if you hire new people, you should help them to adapt. They feel more confident if there is a person nearby who can give an advice or offer support.
Mentors guide their colleagues in the right direction because they know that way from it’s beginning to finish. They don’t know how to communicate with the teams, they may not have basic psychological knowledge. But if they decide to work with people, instruct them and help them become better, they can change it and obtain appropriate education, formal or informal.
So, coach vs mentor difference is that mentors base their support on their own learning, not on their education. They were in the same shoes, that’s why they can offer advice. And it makes them closer. Employees trust them and believe that one day they will become as smart and successful as their mentor. This motivates them to further work.
What does a mentor do?
To distinguish between coaching and mentoring, we need to understand what does a mentor do. If coaches prompt businesses to rethink work approaches, mentors act differently.
They provide support to their colleagues, the so-called mentees. They can tell them how to act, how to develop their soft skills and to communicate inside the team. But all this knowledge is based on their own experience. That’s why mentees consider their mentor to be rather a role model than a professional consultant. And the difference between coaching and mentoring is: a coach is someone who is professional, who knows a lot and who sees the situation from different angles. But the mentor is someone whom you trust because he or she really understands. It is a person who can tell about his or her own mistakes and how they coped with them. The role of mentoring and performance coaching sometimes is not to teach, but to inspire.
Differences between coaching and mentoring table
This table describes clearly what is the difference between a mentor and a coach:
|It is all about flexibility. Therefore, the coach knows several working methods and can choose the appropriate one. The coachee gets taught a wide range of alternatives.||Mentors have enough practical experience. They pass on their proven method, during the procedure.|
|The relationship during coaching can be described as a flat hierarchy. Coaches are not necessarily direct supervisors. The coach gives hints and tips for specific tasks and requirements in everyday professional life.||Mentors are superiors, a clear authority person. Mentoring is generally governed by a clear hierarchy.|
|A coach usually undergoes training for his job. Training organizations award them with coaching certificates.||Mentors don’t need to have intensive mentoring training. The qualification is above all the professional experience.|
|The company can hire a coach on a permanent or on a project basis.||In the case of mentoring, employees of the company are usually responsible for the mentee.|
A good mentor or coach is someone who is:
Coaching is usually considered to be short term. If you want to handle specific tasks better, when you need to get new people on board and increase their productivity or to learn a new skill, you definitely need a coach. That’s why it is impossible to say which one is more better mentoring or coaching. Because when you want to work on your personal and professional development, if you want to expand your network and if you want to have a workforce that copes well with work-life balance, you should hire a mentor.
We hope this article was pretty clear for you and gave you the mentoring vs coaching example.