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Coaching and Mentoring

24th December 20

Coaching and mentoring are effective development approaches that are growing in popularity for both personal and professional growth.

They typically use one-to-one sessions to work with an individual to enhance their skills, knowledge or performance. Helping them to unlock their potential and achieve set goals.

Their services can be philanthropic, though in most instances they are offered on a paid basis by professionals.

While there are many overlapping qualities, the two approaches are vastly different. However, both provide a safe space for analysis, reflection and action that ultimately empowers the client to achieve success.

Coaching and Mentoring Similarities

With the many similarities between coaching and mentoring approaches, it’s easy to see why people assume they are the same.

Some of the many shared traits are:

  • Both encourage the exploration of the client’s needs, motivations, desires, skills and thought processes.
  • They use questioning techniques to encourage the client’s own thought processes. So, they themselves can identify the solutions and actions they should take.
  • Both help the client set appropriate goals and assess their progress.
  • They listen to the client and ask questions to understand their situation.
  • Both encourage the client to be committed to their actions, so they can develop lasting personal growth and change.
  • They remain positive, supportive and non-judgemental throughout the process.


Coaching and Mentoring Differences

LD | Coaching and Mentoring | Coaching and Mentoring Differences

While these development approaches initially appear alike, there are stark differences in their aim and method.

A coach is looking to evoke optimal performance and improvement. Their focus is on delivering specific skills and goals, and the process typically lasts for a defined period of time. Personal aspects of development may be involved to reach these milestones, but the emphasis is generally on the individual’s performance.

Mentors, on the other hand, tend to form a relationship where both parties learn from each other. The mentor is typically more experienced and imparts their pearls of wisdom, but they too learn from the process.

Mentoring relationships are longer and take their time to listen, question, clarify and reframe things for the mentee. Rather than a directive approach, mentors provide insight which helps the mentee realise their own abilities to make change.

Common Calls for Coaching and Mentoring

Both approaches are increasingly proven to be effective for personal and professional growth. As a result, coaching and mentoring services are more frequently required for a growing number of purposes.

In business and the workplace

More employers and business owners are seeing the value of coaches and mentors. Organisational developments, changing roles or company structure are just some of the many reasons they seek their services.

By implementing a coaching and mentoring culture, businesses can benefit from increased morale, motivation and productivity. Investing in their employees also reduces the likelihood of staff turnover. Since team members feel valued and entrusted with more responsibility as they develop.

Another branch of business coaching and mentoring is emerging which solely focuses on executives. Professionals providing this service work exclusively with the C-suite and high-flying business professionals. They have specific experience in professional and executive roles and assist in particular areas.

Coaching and mentoring are also used to enhance performance in the workplace. Managers or team members can be given assistance to improve their work-life balance. This with the aim of increasing their effectiveness and productivity at work.

Outside of this coaches and mentors can be enlisted to help team members develop the core skills needed to perform in their role. As opposed to traditional training, skills coaches and mentors tailor their approach to the individual. Establishing their knowledge, experience, maturity and ambitions and working towards objectives set by both the individual and the company.

In life and personal development

Mentors and coaches working on personal development are highly supportive of those wanting to make significant changes in their lives. The person may be going through a divorce or another period of significant transition. Or they might be looking for help in identifying their path and ambitions.

Personal development coaches and mentors provide a safe space where people can explore what they want in life. Then act as a sounding board while the client discovers ways they can achieve their goals. Aside from opening discussion, listening and providing insight, they help clients maintain motivation and commitment to action.

Where business or workplace services are conducted within an organisational context, personal services are entirely from the individual’s perspective.


How Coaching and Mentoring Differs from Other Services

LD | Coaching and Mentoring | How Coaching and Mentoring Differs from Other Services

Coaching and Mentoring are often thought to have the same purpose and technique as other related services. This leads to confusion as to their benefit, as some people don’t have a clear idea of how they differ. A few examples are below:

Typical Training

Traditional training transfers new skills to people, generally the workforce, in instances of changed procedures, new systems or job function.

Their programmes are typically generic and not tailored to the individual needs or goals. Often modules are standardised, with little or no flexibility in catering to a person's existing knowledge, skills or preferences.

This avenue is best suited to transferring specific knowledge and skills as opposed to the development of personal qualities or competencies.


Consultants focus on enhancing organisational practices, processes and structure. They tend to be more strategic and are often brought in to provide specific solutions to business problems and needs.

They are generally experts in particular issues or processes and lead the job for the organisation. Instead of developing the client so they can do it themselves.


Counsellors explore personal issues and problems in one-to-one sessions, to increase understanding or develop greater self-awareness.

Like coaching and mentoring, counsellors encourage the client to take self-directed actions that will achieve their goals. However, counsellors work with personal issues in much greater depth. Trying to resolve deeper underlying issues that are the cause of serious problems such as low self-esteem.

Coaching and mentoring instead tend to focus on the practical issues of setting goals and achieving results within specific timescales. Though, coaches and mentors do monitor their clients and watch for any signs that indicate counselling may be required. In this instance, they would refer their client onto a trained professional to provide appropriate assistance.

The relationship between coaching, mentoring, psychology and therapies is quite close in several ways. So much so that some professionals who coach and mentor are also practising therapists, counsellors or psychologists. Allowing them to tailor their services depending on the needs of the individual.


There are so many avenues that can be explored in a coaching and mentoring career. Depending on your interests, you could specialise in one area or cover many and provide an all-round service.

If you’re considering becoming a coach or mentor, you can get started with an online course. learndirect is a leading UK distance learning provider, with many online coaching and mentoring courses available.

You can get the skills you need to help others succeed in work and life by studying form the comfort of home. Find out more by clicking the link below.

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