Mentoring vs. Coaching: What’s the Difference?

Mentoring vs. Coaching: What’s the Difference?

At first, mentoring and leadership coaching could seem like interchangeable terms for the same training program. However, when you understand the difference between the two methods, you realize, to be a strong leader, you need both. In their simplest forms, mentoring is about building valuable relationships with other people, while leadership coaching programs concentrate on improving performance.
Mentoring is a robust improvement tool customized for personal growth. Mentorship is an efficient way to help people advance in their careers while building meaningful relationships. Typically, it requires two people (a mentor and a mentee) who work in a related field and share professional experiences. Through respect and trust, the two people work together to realize the mentee’s potential and discuss a plan to achieve their goals.
Although mentoring is an essential tool for all professionals, leadership coaching is equally valuable. Through leadership coaching, you have the opportunity to hone your management skills and enhance your performance as a leader. Unlike mentoring, leadership coaching can be completed in a group or individual sessions.
Leadership coaches are often hired from outside your organization and, sometimes, your field. The separation from the company allows the coach to discuss topics and solve problems that could be unsuitable to address with your supervisor.
To make your career goals a reality, you must understand your professional path and continuously improve your performance. The simplest way to enhance your career experience is through strong relationships with a mentor as well as a leadership coach.
The Center for Mentoring Excellence offers the tools and training needed to help you achieve your mentoring and leadership goals. Also, we provide a variety of resources to help you strengthen your leadership abilities and boost your team’s productivity. So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!
Are You The One? Finding The Right Mentor For You

Are You The One? Finding The Right Mentor For You

So, you’ve decided that you want to start a mentoring relationship. But now what? You need to find a mentor. That might be easier said that done, however. Finding a mentor that’s a good fit for you is an important part of the mentoring process, one that is worth the effort and the time.

And it’s about more than just finding someone you like. You need to be intentional about finding a mentor, and you must consider more than personality — consider learning styles and communication styles.

Here are some things to consider as you begin your search:

  • It starts with you — What are you looking to learn? What attributes are you looking for in a mentor? Knowledge, expertise, experience (or all of the above)?
  • Identify your “must haves” — What do you need to have in a mentoring relationship? Make a list!
  • Use your network like crazy — Tell people what you’re looking for. You never know who they might be able to introduce you to! Meet people, get contact information, research names, find out what you can. Your network is a great tool when looking for the ideal mentor.
  • Go back to your list — Once you’ve collected a list of possible mentors, figure out who meets your criteria (and who doesn’t) and begin to select the ones you’d like to reach out to.

Some do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t:
    • Pick someone who will be too easy on you
    • Select someone just because they like you
    • Choose someone because they are the most convenient
    • Opt for someone because you already have a relationship
    • Choose someone you report to directly
  • Do:
    • Seek a good learning fit between what you need and what this person has to share
    • Find out if this person has sufficient time to mentor you
    • Ask yourself if this person will challenge and encourage you to constantly raise the bar for yourself
    • Consider if this person appears to be a good listener, has a sincere desire and willingness to mentor, and the knowledge and expertise you need.

Now the fun part: Meet them! Make sure to set up time to get to know your potential mentors, and see if they fit your mentoring criteria. Once you meet them you’ll quickly be able to tell if they are the right one for you.

(Photo via Flickr CC: Mateus Lunardi Dutra)