To anyone who wants to gain a foundation in mentoring, and managers and team leaders who want to develop or refine their mentoring skills.


Mentoring Vs. Coaching

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  • Coaching and mentoring are alike in many ways and have some purposes in common.


  • Both types of relationships are used to nurture employees' skills and achieve business objectives. 


  • Both approaches are used to challenge and help individuals change the way they work, identify and solve problems, make decisions, overcome obstacles, and implement change.


  • Coaching and mentoring sessions are also similar in that each involves a series of meetings or encounters that make use of focused discussions about goals and objectives.


  • Between sessions, the individual practices new techniques, approaches, and working styles. In later meetings, the individual's experiences may be discussed and any arising issues or consequences are analyzed.

There are several fundamental differences between coaching and mentoring:


The focus of coaching is mainly concerned with developing skills and strategies to achieve shorter-term performance objectives. In coaching, the goal or objective is often predetermined, as is the coach's plan for achieving it. In contrast, mentoring focuses on personal growth and the continuous improvement of an individual's capability and potential.

Together the mentor and mentee develop an ongoing process that helps the mentee grow and mature as a businessperson.


The function of coaching is to help an individual achieve specific objectives. In many cases, these objectives are established before the coaching begins. Coaches often solve issues by offering advice or prescribing a recommended approach. The function of mentoring is to develop mentees to a point where they can make mature and intelligent career decisions for themselves.

Unlike coaches, mentors facilitate and teach, allowing mentees to discover their own direction.

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In a coaching relationship, the coachee is usually assigned to the coach, who assumes the responsibility for improving performance. When an issue arises, it's usually the coach who suggests a solution. In mentoring, the mentee often chooses the mentor. In turn, the mentor creates a safe environment where the mentee is able to talk freely and confidentially.

Mentors deal with issues by encouraging and guiding mentees to form their own solutions on their own time.


In a coaching relationship, the coach is generally in authority and is in charge of managing the objectives to be achieved, and the method of achieving them. Ideally, mentoring involves a power-free relationship based on mutual acceptance. Even if the mentor is more highly ranked within the organization's business hierarchy, that authority is tempered within the mentoring relationship.


A coach's rewards are usually the form of value from the coachee's improved job performance. Coaches don't usually expect to learn from their coachees. Mentoring is a more reciprocal relationship. Both the mentor and mentee learn from each other and grow professionally.

Area of Activity

Organizations use coaching when employees need help to achieve specific objectives or perform given tasks. The coach is generally work oriented and focuses primarily on short-term objectives involving the coachee's job performance. Organizations use mentoring for broader purposes, such as developing managerial talent, or succession planning.

Mentors don't direct mentees, but rather they provide opportunities for them by showing them how to operate within an organization's business hierarchy, or helping them network with important business contacts.

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