When it comes to personal and professional growth, two terms are often used interchangeably: coaching and mentoring. Although both of these approaches can be beneficial, they are actually quite different. A coach is someone who guides a client on their goals and helps them reach their full potential. This is usually a more formal commitment, with a specially trained coach providing guidance to the client on their objectives.
Mentoring, on the other hand, is usually seen as an informal relationship. Mentors are usually within a company and the relationship starts organically. When it comes to developing skills, a coach may ask the client to explain their approach and discover areas where they can try new tactics. Coaching is focused on development, with the expectation that the client will participate in the sessions but not necessarily lead them. Mentoring, however, is a softer and more relationship-oriented form of orientation.
It is less structured than coaching and can be used to help employees develop key skills or improve employee engagement, performance, and culture. At the beginning of a coaching agreement, the coach and client set goals and agree on ways to evaluate each other based on those goals. Professional coaches help clients to better understand themselves, improve their way of thinking, and equip them with the necessary skills to face future challenges and situations. It is not necessary for the mentor to work in the same field as the client; rather, it is important for them to have a strong relationship. Organizations should be clear about whether employees would benefit more from mentoring or training. In training, the organization has identified a specific skills gap and one or more coaches are selected to provide a generalized program for making improvements.
Just as Coach Carter wanted more for his players than winning a championship, a coach can become a mentor in this case. In conclusion, while coaching and mentoring may seem similar at first glance, they are actually quite different approaches. Coaching is focused on development with a specially trained coach providing guidance to the client on their objectives. Mentoring is softer and more relationship-focused form of orientation that can be used to help employees develop key skills or improve employee engagement, performance, and culture.