Coaching vs Mentoring: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

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Everybody wants their business to succeed. When you’re first starting your entrepreneurial career, though, there’s a decent chance that you don’t know how to get to where you want to. While universities and other jobs can be helpful at preparing you, they often can’t make you completely ready.

That’s where the likes of coaches and mentors come in. Many people use these terms interchangeably. However, that’s a mistake, as the two can be quite different, especially when it comes to business. As a result, the coaching vs mentoring debate can be more complicated than you might realize.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur, then both might seem attractive. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re the same thing. With how different they can be, it’s worth looking into what they are and how they might help you. Both will look to improve employee performance, although they’ll do so in different ways.

What Is A Mentor?

In short, a mentor is someone who gives their advice, knowledge, and expertise to people with less experience. These mentors use their experience to guide their mentees in the right direction. Typically, a mentor will help them in several key areas.

These include gaining confidence, identifying and capitalizing on opportunities for career advancement or alignment, and developing their interpersonal skills. All of this will be based on the mentor’s experience instead of theoretical readings.

As a result, the advice and expertise is often seen as much more trustworthy and reliable. That’s especially true if they’re a leader in their industry and have been for a significant amount of time. Typically, these will be the people who are sought after as mentors among less experienced people in the industry.

What Does A Mentor Do?

You might be wondering what exactly a business mentor does. While this can vary from person to person, there are a few common things among them. Typically, a mentor will help a mentee with their career development goals while exploring their career options. They’ll also help them develop new contacts and identify possible resources for their career progression.

In many cases, they’ll also serve as a role model for the mentees while giving them advice. Generally speaking, a mentor’s role will change over time and will be based on the mentee’s needs. They also tend to be relatively informal, although more formal relationships are known to exist.

In these cases, there will be a structured approach that will focus on mutual benefits and achieving realistic expectations. In many cases, mentors have been in the same situations as their mentees before. That makes them much more likely to be sympathetic with them.

Many mentors will have attitudes that will want to inspire a go-getter mentality alongside being upbeat and encouraging. They want their mentees to be inspired for their career and to be excited enough to achieve their goals.

A lot of this can be the same as a mentor that you’d see outside of the business world. When it comes to business, though, mentors will concentrate on helping mentees develop their work confidence while also developing skills that can add value to their career.

This results in many employees being much more satisfied with their work, which has helped them boost their productivity. As a result, quite a few of them are offering mentoring programs to enhance professional learning initiatives.

With all of that in mind, it’s worth taking a lot at what a business coach does.

What Is A Coach?

When many people think of a coach, they think of sports. In the business world, things aren’t so different. Typically, a business coach will want their business or the person they’re coaching become more goal-oriented. They’ll also help you prioritize goals, choose the best path toward a goal, and then achieve it.

Generally, coaches will cover different aspects of a business. These include sales, marketing, leadership, and communications skills. Coaches will help companies to develop their core strengths and efficiencies while also addressing any of their weaknesses. This will include a comprehensive assessment before any coaching begins.

Using this assessment, they will set a goal and develop a plan to achieve that goal. Most high-quality coaches will look to challenge the status quo and make a company or individual better. As they’re an external party, they can bring a fresh perspective to strategies and can help companies push themselves further.

Over time, a business can lose sight of its original goals and can lose its way. A business coach can help get things back on track and give you everything you need to reach your goals.

What Does A Coach Do?

While it’s one thing to know what a coach is, it’s quite a different thing to figure out what they do. While helping companies achieve their goals is attractive, it’s how they do so that you might be interested in. In essence, they help companies become more accountable to themselves while also pushing themselves to be better.

By concentrating on specific areas, they will highlight where a company may be lacking while also showing you how it can be addressed. Using their assessments, they will ask firms to carefully consider their approach to sales targets, marketing strategies, and many other areas.

Instead of just questioning how things are done, though, a business coach will guide a team through change alongside adopting new growth strategies. As a result, you could say that they give pointed and expert advice about how you and your business operate.

Main Differences Between Coaching And Mentoring

Based on the above, you could say that coaching and mentoring sound relatively similar. While that could be the case to a certain extent, there are quite a few differences between them too. That means that it’s worth wrapping up what the major differences between the two are.

The most notable include:

·         Coaching is typically a short-term solution that can benefit a business long-term. Mentoring, on the other hand, is usually a long-term relationship that’s based on respect, trust, and learning.

·         Mentoring is usually an informal process and things are usually quite relaxed between a mentor and mentee. With coaching, however, everything is more formal and you’re expected to make a much more structured approach.

·         A mentor will usually have first-hand experience about what they’re mentoring about. That gives their advice a significant amount of reliability. Coaches, though, normally don’t have this experience and are coming from a more theoretical and scientific approach.

·         A business coach will typically help people improve in their current jump. They think about the here and now. However, a mentor will think more long-term. That means that they’ll not only recommend things that can be helpful right now, but also in the future. For example, a course recommendation might not help you now, but could allow for a more senior role in the future.

·         Coaches will typically be brought in by a company and host activities to help people improve certain skills. These can include tasks such as trust exercises that help with team-building and other areas. Mentors can be found outside of work, although they’ll typically be in the same industry. They might not have anything to do with your current job, although a business coach likely will.

No matter what stage of your career you’re at, having a mentor or coach might not be a bad thing. However, you’ll need to know exactly which one is right for you. A lot of this could depend on what point of your career you’re in. If you’re just starting, for example, then a mentor might be much more appropriate.

A coach, on the other hand, might be a much more recommended option if you’ve been working for ten or 15 years and feel as though you could be doing better. That makes knowing the differences between coaching and mentoring all the more essential. Choosing the right one for you will not only have short-term consequences but possibly long-term ones, too.

Coaching Vs Mentoring: What’s Best For You?

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to coaching vs mentoring. You could benefit from either of these, although which one might be better can vary significantly from person to person. Some people might just need some quick help, while others will need a guiding hand for years.

Part of this also relates to your business. It might be in a position where you simply need someone to take you over the edge and give you an added advantage to succeed. All of this will factor into which route you should take. There’s also who is going to mentor or guide you, which is a notable factor for everybody.

While somebody might be great at leading a business, they might not be as effective at passing on that knowledge. That means that you’ll need to put a significant amount of thought and effort into who you choose to learn from. While employee performance matters to both, one focuses more on you long-term while the other looks after you with strategies in the short-term.