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 their experience. There is no such designation as "Professional Mentor."
Coaches are usually trained to be coaches. There are "Professional Coaches."

Fourth difference:
Mentors' guidance is mostly about offering answers and solutions.
Coaches' guidance relies 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 may be a formal or an informal relationship.
Coaching is usually a formal relationship.

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

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

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