Choosing between appointing a Mentor or a Coach can be difficult. Coaching and Mentoring are both cut from the same cloth, but they do differ in their design and therefore the benefit that can be gained through their application.
In order to make the best choice, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is working with someone who has enjoyed success in an area in which you are currently working. As a result, a Mentor offers advice and shares their knowledge and experience to the benefit of the person being mentored. A good mentor will expose their charge to influential individuals, including facilitating introductions and opening relevant doors. As a result, if for example, you are in telecommunications, ideally, your mentor would be an executive in this industry. If you’re in banking, you’d find someone within the financial institutions to support you.
Many people have a view that mentoring is something that is done informally. Whilst that can be the case, anything done informally is less likely to enjoy sustainable success. Mentorship requires a deep time commitment. Regular, consistent and outcomes-based interactions are key.
How is coaching different?
Similar principles exist in coaching, but there is one key difference. A professional coach will not readily give advice. The premise behind coaching is that the individual being coached is the one best placed to determine their own destiny. Therefore, they are the ones who will come up with answers. This doesn’t mean that a coach will leave a client floundering without answers. Rather, through a process of questioning and reflection by the client, the choices on the table are expanded and the client is assisted to arrive at the best answer.
Reading the above, the temptation might be to choose a Mentor. Who wouldn’t want a short-cut to success in their industry? The challenge with Mentorship is that it can become very focused on the industry, and the happenings within it, and as a result, it can have a lesser focus on other important factors. It can consequently overlook shortcomings, which coaching could address.
From where I stand, I believe that everyone aiming to achieve at the highest levels in corporate could benefit from the interaction of both a mentor and a coach.
I do acknowledge however that due to affordability, this is likely the domain of the few. As a result, I would recommend a staggered approach made up of six months of mentoring followed by six months of coaching. This iterative process could accelerate the individual in their profession, but also maintain the focus on developing self. The combination would likely result in a highly accelerated career path.
In2Great Coaching offers both mentoring and coaching for its clients. Group programmes are also launched from time to time, which not only offer the benefit of reduced rates over the one to one price points, but also the benefit of engaging with and learning from others who are on the same path. Learn more at www.in2greatcoaching.com or contact us here to set up a chemistry session.
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