Coaching and mentoring are there for the same purpose: helping individuals grow, develop and reach their full potential. Both these methods enable people to take responsibility for their personal and career development. Coaching and Mentoring are often grouped together despite having a number of differences between them. It is essential to see them as separate things and understand how they work in harmony.

Below are the definitions of the two terms:

Mentoring Defined:

Mentoring is defined as a development-focused relationship where the mentor passes on their skill or experience to the one they are mentoring, that is, the mentee. Historically, a mentor is someone within the same company as the mentee but more senior, making them more experienced. However, nowadays, people often find mentors outside of their company through professional networking, where they provide mentorship outside of their regular work duties.

Coaching Defined:

Coaching can be defined as a development-focused relationship with an especially trained coach who provides guidance to clients on their goals and pushes them to reach their full potential. Typically, coaching is a full-time job. These are often trained professionals who specialize in one task and teach that to another individual.

Similarities and Differences between the Coaching and Mentoring:

  • Mentoring is often long term where some mentoring relationships last more than 6 years, or in some cases, even decades. In fact, some mentors and mentees share a lifelong mentoring relationship. Coaching, on the other hand, may be as short as 10-15 minutes’ conversation. Some relationships, however, can be extended too.
  • No qualification is required to become a mentor, which means one can easily start a mentoring program. It may be recommended to get mentorship training, but it is not a necessity. While to become a coach, you need rigorous training and require coaching qualifications to become an effective coach.
  • Mentoring is not about telling a person exactly what to do. It is more directive in nature where the mentor shares their experiences. However, unlike mentoring, coaching is performance-driven and where the individual is told what to do day-to-day to achieve the set goals.
  • Mentoring is not as structured as coaching. While it has an agenda and goals, it is up to the mentee to put together the information they have received. Coaching, on the other hand, typically has a more structured, rigorous approach.

Both are effective and needed in their context. These are two different approaches to push an individual to do better; it depends on what the person needs at that point in time.

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