If it is true that mentoring and coaching have similar traits because both are concerned with the growth of other people - it is also true that they are different.

Here are six differences between Mentoring and Coaching:

First difference:
The mentor has much more experience in the mentee's chosen field of expertise - the mentor has been there, has seen it, and has done it before.
The coach doesn't necessarily have to have any background knowledge about the coachee's chosen field of expertise.

Second difference:
The mentor is not hired and is not paid to act as the mentor for the mentee.
The coach is usually hired and paid to act as the coach for the coachee.

Third difference:
Mentors are not trained to be mentors - their guidance is based exclusively on experience. There is no such designation as "Professional Mentor."
Coaches are usually trained to be coaches. There are "Professional Coaches."

Forth difference:
Mentors offer answers and solutions - mentoring is somewhat similar to instructing.
Coaches - rather than continually giving the answers - rely on the use of strategic questions to help the coachee improve his/her thinking process and/or specific skills.

Fifth difference:
Mentors focus on the individual - personal growth, career counseling, business acumen, etc.
Coaches focus on performance - there is a well-defined goal based on skills improvement.

Sixth difference:
Mentoring my be a formal or an informal relationship.
Coaching is usually a formal relationship.

Conclusion: Just because you are experienced and/or successful, do not assume you don't need a mentor and/or a coach.

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Jose Luis Romero - Publisher
April 5, 2011. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month

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