Coaching or Mentoring - What's the Difference?




I get asked a lot about mentoring and coaching and the difference between the two. So here’s a quick explanation of the differences and the benefits they provide.


Coaching


Essentially coaching is independent, and the person who coaches you doesn't need to have industry or experience in your field. They help you set goals and rather than give advice, they coach you towards those goals. A coach is like a counsellor, asking questions and supporting you to find your own answers.


Mentoring


Mentoring is typically from someone within your industry who has the experience and has “been there, done that”. A mentor shares their skills, experience and knowledge. They’ll be familiar with the particular challenges and characteristics of your job role and know what it’s like to be in your shoes. In this way, a mentor is more like a teacher—offering suggestions and providing direct advice. Peer to peer mentoring is standard in professions like health where supervision is not only helpful but mandatory in many cases.


Professional coaches usually undergo training and hold qualifications, whereas a mentor can be anyone within your organisation or industry willing to help you. Let’s face it—most of us can benefit from both coaching and mentoring in our professional lives!


Providing coaching and mentoring with your organisation can improve employee performance, engagement and confidence. For the more experienced or senior people within your company, it’s a chance to give back and share their expertise.


Sponsoring


A step beyond mentoring is sponsorship. A sponsor is usually someone in a leadership position within your organisation, whereas a mentor could be anyone in your industry. Sometimes people within an organisation can benefit from being actively sponsored by someone more senior. A sponsor advocates for that person and helps them ‘get on the radar’ within the company.


At Love Your Work NZ, we provide leadership and career coaching for companies and individuals. Get in touch if you’re looking for professional assistance with your career.



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