The Differences between Coaching and Mentoring

The Differences between Coaching and Mentoring

Talyaa Vardar, MA, FCPC, MCC
Talyaa Vardar, MA, FCPC, MCC
Executive Coach, Psychologist & Art Therapist

It is a common misconception that mentoring and coaching are the same things however there are a variety of differences in between them. The main difference is that a coach doesn’t have to be a subject matter expect however a mentor but be experienced in the subject in which they are mentoring.

Mentoring Coaching
A transitory relationship with an unspecified conclusionThe time period and number of meetings are specified from the beginning.
Mentors do not have to be certified and usually the nature of the relationship does not require mentor to be certified. There is a governing body for the coaching profession: International Coaching Federation (ICF). ICF set competencies and code of standards for professional coaching globally to get certified and accredited a number of training organizations internationally.
The frequency of the meetings may be informal or formal. The meetings may be spontaneous or planned, and the mentee can contact the mentor when needed. The frequency of the meetings is much more structured. There are regular intervals between the meetings. 
The term of the relationship doesn’t have to expire in a planned time frame. While it is employed in companies for the purposes of career development, knowledge, and experience transfer, in informal forms of mentoring, the mentor may approach the individual’s development in a more extensive manner. Short-term. There is a specified time period, with a focus on clear development subject matters/issues. 
The mentor is more experienced and qualified than the mentee. Generally, individuals whose knowledge and experience is seen as valuable come together with less experienced individuals in order to contribute to their growth.It is not necessary for the coach to be more knowledgeable; this is a matter of preference.  However, it is crucial that coach has the skills and competencies to create positive shift in the relationship.
Mentorship relationship has focus on development.Coaching relationship has focus on awareness, transformation and positive change.
Mentoring sessions do not have to have a certain structure. Professional coaching sessions should have a goal for each session; planning and actions each time.
Terms used to define the parties of a mentoring relationship are mentor and mentee.Terms used to define coaching relationship are coach and coachee or coach and client.
Mentors can give advice. Certified coaches can not give advice but rather ask thought-provoking open-ended questions.

It is essential to keep the learning objective of the individual in mind in order to choose the right term to use. Mentors may use the same skills as coaching but the relationship that will develop will be very different from the one in coaching. Mentors are able to provide specific advice and feedback however the coach focuses on helping the individual find their own solutions.

A coach has an ability to assist and encourage rather than direct and advice. Coaching is a partnership where the client works out what are their areas of improvement and how can they improve them. Most importantly coach also helps in the self-development of the coachee by increasing self-awareness. Unlike coaching, mentoring is more about providing directions and solutions.

Mentoring is normally a relationship between two work colleagues where one is more experienced than the other. Due to this dynamic, the more experienced one can use their knowledge and information acquired at work to help the mentee at work.

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