What is the difference between having a Coach versus a Mentor?

Coaching / Mentoring

What is the difference between having a Coach versus a Mentor?

A Mentor is a fabulous person who will pass on their wisdom and experience.  In the workplace they help with connections and defining or refining career paths.  A mentor gives their options, offer advice, and makes recommendations from a place of expertise.

A Coach is a strategic partner that empowers you to be your best self.  A coach works with you on professional or personal objectives. Coaching starts with the co-creation of an agreement outlining the parameters of a relationship, and defining what, specifically, you want to accomplish in each coaching session. During coaching sessions, the coach is a sounding board for you to think and explore.  A coach uses powerful questioning to expand your thinking.  A coach partners with you so that you consider different possibilities, identify potential challenges, develop strategies, create action plans, and move forward in the direction and manner you choose. A coach deepens your awareness and learning for long-term, sustainable, meaningful change.

There is a time and a place for having a Mentor and a time and a place for having a coach.

  • Find a Mentor when you are still learning information and what inside help moving forward.

  • Find a Coach when you want to expand your possibilities and take charge of your outcomes.

The greatest indicator of success in a coaching relationship is the rapport between the coach and the client.  It seems likely that rapport is also an indicator of success in a mentoring relationship.  Rapport with a Mentor will be based on connections and mutual interests as well as simply liking each other.  Rapport with a Coach is built on a Coach first completing coaching certification to develop their competency, next being part of the International Coach Federation so they are accountable to a Code of Ethics, and then effectively partnering in a way that works for your situation.  The bonus: because a Coach is truly invested in and cares about your success, chances are you will find that you truly enjoy your coaching sessions.

* Originally posted on #CenterforCoachingCertification by #CathyLiska.