Coaching Vs Mentoring – A Definition to Understand What You Need

Do I need a Coach or a Mentor? If you know the definition you will be able to fill better your needs.

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👉 Here the transcript of the video:

▶ Do I need a Coach or a Mentor?

“ – Do I need a coach? Do I need a mentor instead? I am not sure… after all, what is the difference between the 2 of them?”

As a coach, and at the beginning of a chemistry session with my clients, those would be typical questions and rightfully asked of course.
So, in what coaching and mentoring differ?

First, what they have in common: they both aim at supporting their client in achieving their specific goal or objective

A coach and a mentor also use similar tools such as empathy, active listening, being non-judgmental, etc.

Now, the main difference between the two of them resides in the HOW. How a coach or a mentor during a session will help you reach your goals. Let me explain further:

▶ Neutral Role and Non-Neutral Role

A coach will actively help you do a deep dive into yourself in order to bring to light or create a new awareness about yourself and upon which you can take a new course of action.

In this case, the coach has an active but NEUTRAL role: a coach firmly believes in their client’s own resources: “you have it all in yourself”.

A mentor on the other hand will contribute actively to the session by sharing his expertise, experience, tools, techniques.

In this case, the mentor plays also an active but NON-NEUTRAL role.

▶ An Example and a Metaphore

So, for example, let’s say that I am struggling with my presentation skills in front of an audience and I want to improve them.

A coach will guide me through the process of creating new awareness about myself

– How do I function?
– What are my internal processes?, etc

and based on this insight, on these new things that I realize about myself, what actions I can then take and commit to, that will eventually help fulfill my objective.

A mentor will actively contribute to the session by sharing what worked for him, for example, the do’s and don’ts that made him a successful speaker.

As a mentee I might consider start and apply them in my future presentations.

Using a metaphor from my friend and coach Fabrizio di Paoli that illustrates the difference between coaching and mentoring:

“the coach is a travel companion expert in hiking who accompanies the client along the path he has chosen to tackle. The mentor is an expert guide of a specific path who through his own experience, suggests to the client the best way to follow it.”

So, do I need a coach, or do I need a mentor?

That comes all down to ask yourself the question of what is your objective?



my name is Mark Anderson a 20+ year Lean Expert.
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