What's the Difference between Mentoring and Coaching?
The difference between coaching and mentoring Mentoring and coaching are often used interchangeably and to a certain extent they share many similarities. Both are about the development of individuals to improve their knowledge, skills, abilities and performance. The disciplines from which they work are based on ‘questioning, listening, clarifying and reframing’ throughout their discussions. There are many different kinds of coaches and mentors, but very broadly speaking, the differences are described below.
Alongside the aforementioned contributions, mentors are more often than not, people who are more experienced individuals either within a business (preferably not direct managers) or with specific skills, knowledge and expertise in a particular area. The discussions between mentors and mentees are often advice- and direction- based and are less formal in structure. This relationship tends to last a lot longer and focuses on the long-term professional growth of individuals. Another benefit of having mentors is that they are often well connected within their particular field of expertise and as such may open doors.
Coaching is also focused on the performance, development and improvement of individuals but it tends to concentrate of specific skills and goals. Alongside these, coaches can work with individuals’ specific personal characteristics and traits to hone these further to help achieve specific objectives such as leadership development or particular performance objectives. Coaching tends to last for shorter periods of time (typical sessions are 6 x 2 hours).