What’s the difference between coaching and mentoring?

What’s the difference between coaching and mentoring?

For many people, the difference between coaching and mentoring isn’t clear. In business, we tend to separate the two words, although sometimes they do get used interchangeably. There are, however, distinct differences. Here is a quick guide to the difference between the two. 

What is coaching? 

Coaching is aimed at helping to develop skills in a particular area, and is usually short-term and task oriented. Coaching is driven by a need to acquire skills and knowledge and improve a return on investment (ROI) for the individual. 

What is mentoring? 

Mentoring is more long-term and is built on a relationship. It’s about working to achieve an overall transformation, rather than working to develop one particular area. The aim is not the achievement of goals but the successful management of them. As the aim is not to overcome one particular challenge, it can be harder to measure. 

But is it possible for both coaching and mentoring to exist side by side? 

Consider, for example, the role of a teacher. They provide both coaching and mentoring by giving short-term support to overcome a task, such as improving a test result, as well as offering also a long-term support in trying to transform or maintain students’ behaviour and achievements. A good teacher is capable of both these things alongside each other – just as a good business person is. The key is understanding the role of each relationship and how they support one another. When it comes to building a winning team, long-term relationships – such as those which you develop through mentoring – can be extremely beneficial when it comes to effectively encouraging and coaching individuals in overcoming a particular difficulty. 

Chew on this: 

Do you use coaching, mentoring, or a mixture of both?

Author: Safaraz Ali
My career began in the financial services sector and since 1999, I have been involved in the world of business. I am Head of Pathway Group, which is a workforce development solutions provider. Pathway Group specialise in apprenticeship training and recruitment. I also offer independent strategy, advice, and investment for a wide range of private business sector. These include: social care, education, training, and recruitment.