What is the difference between a Coach and a Mentor?
Know You More are leaders in delivering valuable and insightful coaching to individuals across all industries. But just what is the difference between a coach and a mentor? In the last couple of years, the landscape has changed for all of us, both professionally and personally. The idea of a strong support network has become more and more attractive as we work remotely and struggle with the diminished human contact that makes most of us thrive.
So what is the difference between a Coach and a Mentor?
First off, both are important and neither work in a vacuum. In an ideal world, we’d have both a coach and a mentor. A strong mentor relationship within the workplace: and an equally strong arm’s length one with a coach.
Coaching is a development relationship unlike any other.
Let’s unpick the key benefits of each:
- a coach doesn’t need to have the same industry experience as coachees
- a coach will be qualified
- coaching is non-directive and encourages self-development
- a coach and coachee relationship is generally a short-term one
- a mentor has relevant industry background and experience
- mentoring is directive, with specific goals, tasks, strategy and deadlines
- a mentor uses their knowledge and experience to answer specific questions and provide related guidance
- a mentor relationship tends to be ongoing
Is it better to have a coach or a mentor?
Having read the above, you might have already seen this answer coming. Your team will benefit from a mentor with a background in your industry. Someone who has seen the way your organisation works and can guide them through a succession plan or product launch with the benefit of hindsight. Conversely, the self- development opportunities that working with a coach can bring, will deliver huge benefits to your organisation in the long-term. Creating free-thinking, self-aware and empowered staff.
In simple terms. The coach develops the mindset. The mentor provides the business acumen. Both are desirable, but it won't always be possible to provide the dream team for every employee.
When choosing between a coach and a mentor, consider two things:
What you want to achieve?
How you want to experience it?
Guidance on how to solve a specific problem, deal with a logistical issue or work creatively within the confines of an organisation or team, can be delivered by a mentor.
Unlocking the skills to develop, create and implement strategy that benefits the organisation as well as deepening personal understanding, comes from working with an experienced coach.
A coach or a mentor. The choice is yours and choosing correctly will make all the difference.