What is the difference between Mentoring and Coaching?

Published by daledawn on

To put it simple a mentor is someone who offers their knowledge, expertise and advice to those with less experience. By leveraging their experience and skills, mentors guide mentees in the right direction.


A business coach focuses on specific skills and growth goals by breaking them into concrete tasks to be completed within a specified period of time. By doing so, business coaches help and guide individuals and clarify their growth vision.


Let’s examine mentorship vs. coaching even further.  Are you not quite sure of the difference between coaching and mentoring? But perhaps you suspect that you’d get further if you actually understood the difference and  how each could fast-track you for the career you actually want?

Well, if so, in this article you will  find a very straight forward comparison between coaching and mentoring. We will share some top tips to start your own journey along both the mentor and coaching path. and in particular, mentorship. Now this is part of my Coaching

It is common knowledge that the right mentor or coach can kickstart your career for faster progress.  So what is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

I’m Dr. Suzanne Mason. I’m an executive career coach and I’ve helped thousands of women with my executive coaching program because I focused on mentoring as part of my PhD. So this is an area I know and love and one that benefits all of my clients.



So let’s start with, what is coaching  Well, for me coaching is all about being an outsider who helps people get very strategic about the steps someone needs to take to reach their goals.  So, for me it’s about asking the right questions.

Helping clients find their own answers and get clearer on what they actually want and what it will take to get there.  I then help them brainstorm and tactically plan about what it’s going to take to reach those goals and who’ll they’ll need to involve and maybe the amount of self-education or formal education that is going to be required.

Simply put, my definition is that I make sure my clients get there faster and with fewer mistakes. Now, clearly, they’re are probably many more formal definitions of coaching and if you Google coaching definition, you are going to receive more than half a million pages which will give you their own definitions.  Coaches usually meet with clients on a monthly basis, review goals and hold their clients accountable.

But if I’m honest, in the two and a half thousand hours of ICF Accredited coaching hours I have done with my women who work in various fields, that’s the definition

that actually works best for not just me, but certainly for my clients. So coaching is also about challenge, cause let’s be honest, I can help you win the race, but we first need to make sure that it’s a race worth winning or even competing in, in the first place. So, far my first question to you is if you could get just one thing out of coaching, what exactly would it be?

All right, so we’ve looked at how, what coaching is, so let’s see how that compares to mentoring. Now, mentoring is about a person who has a very specific set of skills, helping grow someone else’s skills in that same area. So ideally, you’d have both a coach and a mentor.  There are many people in various niches that are quite adapt to being great coaches and mentors.

If you think about it probably many people come to mind that you know in various niches that are great at both coaching and mentoring.  I recently had the opportunity to speak at an event in San Diego with personal development coach Dale Calvert who is has mentored many network marketing pros and home business entrepreneurs.


Dale is know as a coach and mentor in this field.  He shared he works with 20 paid
coaching clients that are full-time professionals around the world, but over his
career he has mentored teams with tens of thousands of distributors.

And with the coaching clients that I tend to work with, well, we ensure that you get a range of people with various skills, the ones you need to build whatever you want to build. So for example, we may work on developing your relationships with people who are ace at giving presentations, just the way you’d love to be able to do. Or perhaps they have a technical skill that you’d like to develop. Or maybe they lead teams just with a style that you’d really like to emulate. We can find those people with you, in your own networks. If they are not there we can introduce you to a wide diversity of people we have within our own network.

Maybe people you haven’t even thought of yet. And in the programs that I run for companies where we focus solely on getting more women into senior leadership positions, we are very careful about the way we pair mentors and mentees.

Because you need to be really focused on making sure that the mentee gets exactly what they need to learn. But you can’t also forget to make sure that it benefits the mentor as well. Because frankly, that is really the only way the relationship is going to grow long after the program has officially finished. And the good news, well as you discover if you’re working with me, you may not need a formal mentoring program to approach people yourself.

So, as you can see, coaching and mentoring are completely different, but both very vital to getting you the career you want. So, my next question, are you ready to try to find a mentor yourself? So if you the best tip I can share with you especially if you are looking for a business mentor is look for someone who has a proven track record of mentoring others.  Sounds common sense, right?

However, you would be shocked at the number of business mentors who are trying to teach other what they personally may have never done, and even if they have, they don’t have the systems in place to teach others.





So we get a lot of questions about being a mentor. What does it mean to be a mentor, will you be my mentor, will I be your mentor? Things like that. Here’s what I’ve learned about mentorship. Mentorship is not something you ask

somebody to do like,”Will you be my friend?” It doesn’t work like that. When you find somebody you get along with you share values, you share beliefs. You spend time with them, you get to know them. You develop trust.  Honestly, this type of relationship today can be built simply from listening to podcast. Many self-made entrepreneurs tell me they never spent too much one-on-one time with their mentor.  However the right mentor can help you open up to yourself and ask yourself some really important question.

If you have the opportunity to be around your mentor on a regular basis you develop a true, real, open, relationship.  You’re vulnerable with them, you open up to them. And you discover that you become friends, it’s what happens.


You start off as simply acquaintances. In my experience, mentorship is exactly the same. There were people who were much more experienced than me who had wisdom that I didn’t have and when I would call them, they would take my calls.

And when I would ask them questions, they would always take the time to give me answers. And over the course of time, they became my mentors. Like they became my friends.

And I remember one time I was with one of my mentors, an amazing guy, and I was leaving his house and I put my arm around him and I said, “You know, I’m glad you’re my mentor,” and he looked at me and he said, “I’m glad you’re mine. “And it caught me completely off guard. True mentorship, like true friendship, is not a one way street. It’s not about one person only giving advice to the other.

Both people are showing up to give and both people are showing up to learn. But you can’t ask someone to be your mentor, especially someone who’s a total stranger, knock on their door and say, “Will you be my mentor?” if they don’t know you and you’ve never met them. It’s like friendship. You cultivate a relationship and if that person is always there for you and wants to see you thrive and succeed and believes in you, then perhaps they will become your mentor, like making a friend.  In the network marketing business model these type of relationships are naturally cultivated with downline members and some mentors in every niche have paid coaching programs.   So the profession, niche or business you are in determines if a mentor or coaching relationship best suits your needs.


Categories: Advice and Tips