Coaching vs. Mentoring

06.14.13There are yet a few more differences, than what we have already discussed, when we speak of coaching verses mentoring. Managers who receive coaching are usually responsible for meeting performance goals and are given by executive coaches, who are hired to boost personnel development.

Mentoring can be accomplished without the controlling restrictions enforced by the organizational chain of command.

While coaching and mentoring are similar, mentoring will consist of the following:

  1. Exists between two individuals, generally one of the individuals are more knowledgeable than the other
  2. Is committed to promoting self-directed learning and development

Because there are so many misunderstandings about what goes on in mentoring and coaching, it makes sense to spell out expectations beforehand. In the end it does not matter what you call it, but everyone should be clear on the anticipated outcomes.

Setting up a partnering bond to develop routine goals is different from one designed to develop learning and personal development abilities. Unless you, your boss, and your mentor or coach clarifies desired outcomes, there may not be any.

In this series of blog posts about mentoring, I’m using the word mentoring for a relationship in which two people , in which one is more experienced than the other,  concentrates on learning what is needed for enhanced proficiency, know-how, and knowledge within the framework of the organization.

What’s been your experience working with a mentor or a coach? I’d love to hear from you.


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