Coaching and Mentoring – The Differences

and – The Differences


People often use the terms “coaching” and “mentoring” interchangeably. However, they represent two separate and distinct types of functions and relationships.

Coaching is a more formal structured relationship centered on improving an individual’s performance and focuses on specific skills and goals.

Mentoring is a more informal relationship centered on an association in which a more experienced individual uses his or her knowledge to guide the development of an inexperienced individual.


Coaching and Mentoring – The Differences

Coaching and Mentoring - The Differences

About Coaching

  • Typically a short-term relationship
  • Generally has a set duration
  • Performance based
  • Formal relationship
  • Experts in specific areas
  • Focus is on improvements in behavior and performance to resolve current issues
  • Emphasis is on instructing, assessing, and monitoring
  • Focus is on specific development areas
  • Focus is on business issues
  • Focus is on knowledge, skills, or abilities to better perform a given task
  • Concerned about behavioral transformation
  • Coach directs the learning
  • Uses various assessment instruments to measure results
  • Usually a person’s direct report in an organization
  • Has direct influence since the person is often his or her direct report
  • Structured with meetings scheduled on a regular basis
  • The meeting agenda is focused on achieving specific short-term goals


About Mentoring

  • Ongoing relationship that lasts for a long time
  • Informal relationship
  • Two-way mutually beneficial relationship
  • Development based
  • Provides support and guidance to prepare them for future roles
  • Emphasis is on listening, providing information, giving suggestions, and establishing personal connections
  • Supports the mentee’s overall growth and development
  • Takes a broader view of the person, not looking to develop a specific competency
  • Focus is on professional and personal success
  • Concerned about personal transformation
  • Collaborative approach to learning
  • Sharing of ideas and thoughts about different issues
  • Provides advice
  • Makes introductions to influential and helpful individuals
  • Uses a low key, self-discovery approach
  • Structure is self-directed and flexible
  • Meetings taking place as and when the mentee needs some advice, guidance, or support
  • Agenda is set by the mentee






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