Both coaches and mentors share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with others to help them grow in their careers, and while they can both provide invaluable tips and tricks, there are some key differences between the two roles. If you’re looking for someone to help you take your career to the next level, but you’re not sure whether that someone should be a coach or a mentor, here’s what you need to know about each one.
Professional Relationship vs Business Relationship
While both coaching and mentoring can be considered professional relationships because they both center on advancing your career, only coaching is considered a business relationship because it’s the only one where money changes hands. Coaches make their living by helping professionals advance their career, while mentors don’t get paid to mentor other professionals, just a sense of accomplishment and goodwill with one of their colleagues.
Mentors tend to provide advice and anecdotes based on their own experience and use that to guide their mentees. By contrast, coaches are more likely to ask questions of their clients and use their answers to guide them, not only to professional and financial success, but to do so in a way that is in alignment with the client’s goals and objectives, as well as their individual strengths and their personality. In that sense, coaching can be a way to get more personalized guidance, compared to mentoring, which can sometimes have a more cut-and-paste approach.
Structured vs Unstructured
A mentor can give you advice and help you navigate certain situations, whereas a coach is generally there to help you achieve a certain goal (or goals). It could be a financial goal, it could be getting a certain number of sales or helping you attain and/or retain more staff members. Regardless of what the goal is, a coach is generally going to be focused on helping you achieve a specific goal and your sessions together will center around that goal, rather than a more vague ambition of general professional development, which tends to be the realm of mentoring.
Length of Relationship
Because coaches tend to be more focused on helping their clients achieve a certain goal, the relationship tends to end once the client achieves that goal, usually after six months to a year. Mentor relationships tend to last longer, often years, and many have gone on for decades.
Is Coaching Right for You?
If you’re leaning more towards coaching than mentoring, you’ve come to the right place. Michelle Smith is a Strategy Rockstar who has helped countless people grow their businesses and achieve their financial goals through her coaching programs. You can speak to Michelle directly to see if coaching is the next right step for you by scheduling your FREE consultation.
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