What Is The Difference Between A Mentor And A Coach?

So you’ve taken the leap and opened your own business or perhaps you’ve finally worked your way up the corporate ladder into a management role! The question is, how do you stay on top now that you’ve made it? The fear of not being able to perform in these roles can be paralysing and realistically there will come a time where you will eventually become stagnant. How you respond to this will determine your long-term success and happiness.

Enter the business coach or mentor. A person who will help you move from where you are to where you want to be by focussing on your goals. But what exactly is the difference between a coach and mentor? At a glance, it isn’t necessarily easy to identify the difference, and it’s made harder by people using the terms interchangeably.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an expert and the fountain of all knowledge (think Yoda). They often take a mentee ‘under their wing’ so they can learn from their experience and knowledge. Mentors provide advice, suggest ways to solve problems and share their opinions and industry contacts. In a nutshell, mentors create the path for their mentee.

A mentor can help me to:

  • Gain valuable advice

  • Advance my career

  • Network

  • Find guidance and direction

  • Develop my current skills

  • Stay focussed

  • Solve problems

  • Get noticed

  • Evaluate job offers

  • Build resilience

  • Find new productivity tools

What is a coach?

A coach is an impartial and non-judgmental person who works with clients to clarify their goals and supports them to move forward in their businesses and lives. They support their clients to uncover their own answers and determine their own path by using tools, strategies and resources. Importantly, a coach does not provide answers or give advice. Rather, they empower their clients to believe they can be or do anything they set their mind to.

A business coach can help me to:

  • Identify and maximise my strengths

  • Identify blind spots within my business

  • Clarify my goals

  • Hold myself accountable

  • Develop my leadership skills

  • Have tough conversations

  • Prioritise my business needs

  • Stay motivated

  • Reinvigorate my passion

  • Try new things

  • Review and improve my business culture

Coaching and mentoring both aid an individual or business to grow, develop and achieve their goals. There are some key differences that need to be considered. Mentoring is a more informal process focussed on developing the relationship between mentor and mentee. On the other hand, coaching is a formal and targeted approach to empower individuals to make behavioural and mindset changes. In fact, coaching is the second-fastest-growing industry in Australia. With a growing number of big companies turning to coaches to support and improve their business, the question is, will you be one of them?

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