What Is the Difference Between Mentoring and Business Coaching, and Why Should You Care?
If you are looking for support and guidance to achieve greater success then it is important to know the difference between business coaching and mentoring and how to select the correct service for your needs.
The Difference Between Mentoring and Business Coaching
In a coaching relationship the client is the expert and the coach acts as a catalyst to draw out the best in the client. In a mentoring relationship the mentor is the expert and shares his wisdom based on experience with the client.
The distinction is clear – with coaching the client is expert, but with mentoring it is all about the mentor’s expertise.
That is why a skilled coach can help anyone achieve any objective, but a skilled mentor should only provide input on their exact field of expertise. One set of skills has broad, general application; whereas, the other set of skills are narrowly defined to a specific purpose.
Finding both skill sets in one person is rare and valuable…
Mentoring And Coaching Techniques
To further clarify the difference between mentoring and business coaching just contrast the different techniques used with each approach.
- Provides direction, insight and instruction on specific leadership issues.
- Interaction is based on the mentor’s directly related experience.
- Communication is about the mentor – who they are and what they know.
A business coach…
- Asks powerful questions designed to elicit the client’s own knowledge.
- Provides a structure of accountability for greater achievement.
- Motivates and encourages for greater action.
- Provides an objective viewpoint to help clarify issues.
Business Coaching vs. Mentoring – Which Should You Choose?
Choose a mentor based on how well that person’s experience relates to the objective you are trying to achieve. Ask yourself if you would like to model or emulate that person’s life? Think of a prospective mentor as the projection of your future – do you want to be like that person? Do they properly represent your personal values as well as your business goals?
Choosing a business coach is different because the interaction is different. You will not be modeling the business coach’s life or success so that is not the relevant issue – but the quality of the interaction is. Does the coach draw out the best in you and drive you to achieve more? Does the coach help you see a bigger picture and make better decisions? Does the coach keep you focused on the critical factors to achieving your goals? The key in selecting a business coach is to judge how you react to that coach’s style. Do you produce more and better results by working with him than you would without?
The most powerful relationships occur when mentoring and business coaching are combined into one package. That is what I do with my business coaching. I’m unique in having both the business expertise to serve as a qualified mentor and the coaching expertise to draw out the best in you.
For example, as a mentor, I provide the big picture perspective on vision and business strategy based on many different industries that you can’t possibly know because you operate in one industry. It is mine. I teach you the principles and strategies that are proven to work. I help you avoid the obvious potholes based on my experience, and I guide you to focus on the critical factors that lead to success.
In addition, as a business coach I walk side-by-side with you on your journey to freedom providing accountability and support to help you stay the course with discipline until you succeed. I work with you to correct and adjust your plan so that you overcome the inevitable obstacles that occur along the way. In short, I’m your partner in the process as a coach.
Each role has its own essential function. There are times when you need a mentor to guide you and lead the way, and there are times when you need a coach to help you overcome personal obstacles, provide accountability, and support. A skilled mentor-coach provides both and can flip back and forth between skill sets so that you can achieve the success and fulfillment you deserve.
In other words, one skill without the other is only half the package. Make sure the mentor-coach you select can provide both.
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