Coach: is a person who supports a learner, or client, in achieving a specific or a set of specific personal or professional goals by providing training and guidance.
Mentor: a mentor is a knowledgeable and experienced person who assists another (the client, or student) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth.
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What does a mentor do?
The following are among the mentor’s functions:
Teaches the student / client about a specific issue
Coaches them on a particular skill
Facilitates the client or student’s growth by sharing resources and networks
Challenges the client/student to move beyond his or her comfort zone
Creates a safe learning environment for taking risks
Focuses on their total development
Is mentoring and coaching identical?
No, not really.
People often confuse mentoring and coaching or they consider them to be one and tha same thing. Although they are related, they are not the same.
A mentor may be a coach, but a coach is not a mentor. Mentoring is “relational,” while coaching is “functional”.
There are other significant differences.
Managers coach all of their staff as a requirement of their job
Coaching takes place within the confines of a formal manager-employee relationship
Coaching often focuses on developing individuals within their current job roles
Interest is functional, arising out of the need to ensure that individuals can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities
Any coach/student relationship tends to be initiated and driven by an individual’s manager
Relationship is finite – it usually ends once an individual learns the skill or is transferred to another job role
Takes place outside of a line manager-employee relationship, at the mutual consent of both the mentor and the student/client
Is most often career-focused or it focuses on the professional development that may be outside of the client/student’s current area of work
The relationship is more personal – a mentor provides both professional and personal support
A relationship may be initiated by a mentor or created through a match initiated by an organization
The mentor/client (student) relationship crosses any job boundaries
The relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program, at which point the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship. Or it can be open-ended, where the relationship continues with time period as the student matures and the mentor becomes more of an observer / friendly ear for advice.
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I’ve been asked often to coach people on small business consulting, I don’t like to do that. For me, coaching is too much like teaching. I much prefer to provide mentoring support, why?
Because it’s that much more personal, it’s more broad and the results are so much more satisfying, seeing a person grow in both knowledge and personal skills and self-confidence are so much more worthwhile than simply teaching someone to complete a set of skills that will only improve one part of their life.
Mentoring small business owners and entrepreneurs is a great way to help them in their early stages of development. A friendly ear to listen, a knowledgeable and experienced expert that can help. Someone who will not only support you when you are almost ready to quit but someone who will make you accountable so that you stay on track. We all need someone we can look to for support, a mentor – at least a good one, can do that for you too.
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Till next time…
Commit To Success – We Are Part Of Your Team,
Peter Bright and the MBT Team