What the difference between coaching and mentoring?

By Andrew

What the difference is between coaching and mentoring? The difference can be quite subtle. A coach and a mentor work with an individual to help them develop personal solutions to their issues and challenges. The coach works as a partner in this conversation, but the mentor shares much of their accumulated knowledge, experience and advice and takes more of a guiding role.

What is a good mentor/mentee relationship?

A mentor needs to have a strong relationship with the person that they are working with. It needs to be safe environment, where the mentee can feel confident that they can share their issues and concerns. They need to trust the judgement of the mentor and believe that they can learn from them.

Successful mentoring relationships thrive when the mentee feel strong enough to set the agenda. They need to recognise and own their issues and challenges, and then the mentor should work with them, using their knowledge and experience, to help the mentee develop a solution that works for them.

What are the benefits of being a mentor?

Good mentors want to give back to their colleagues and the organisation. They gain:

  • Personal satisfaction in nurturing the growth and development of others
  • The ability to positively influence a new generation of colleagues and leaders
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills
  • An enhanced reputation within their organisation
  • A deeper understanding of the value of the years of personal and organisational experience
  • An opportunity to reflect on their role as a guide and leader.

What are the benefits to the mentee?

  • The mentoring relationship offers the opportunity to grow. The mentee gains:
  • A safe space to talk
  • A relationship that provides them with the chance to reflect on their performance
  • Impartial advice and encouragement
  • The self-confidence and self-awareness to successfully plan their future path
  • New perspectives when dealing with their issues and concerns