Do you need a mentor or a coach?

What’s the difference between a coach and a mentor?

You’ve already made it this far, you’re reading this article. This leads me to expect that you already have the awareness to know, that you can benefit from outside help.

For busy individuals figuring out if they should get a coach or mentor can be a blocker

To help you decide what you’re looking for. I’ve brought out the 4 main differences between coaching and mentoring, as I see it in my work.

First off let’s go over what the approaches have in common so the differences are more defined.

What do mentoring and coaching have in common?

Both help you on a path that you would not go on your own. They help you get on the journey faster. 

Mentoring and coaching are approaches that give you someone to hold you accountable.

When you’re looking for ways to develop yourself that take you further than daily to-do lists and expectations; you could be looking for a coach or mentor.

Coaching and mentoring are approaches that help you focus on your larger and more long term goals.

Mentoring is a push. Coaching a pull.

What will mentoring give you?

A mentor is someone who is further down a path you are own. You can have many mentors in your life. That friend of yours that had kids a few years before you and is full of invaluable advice; that’s your child rearing mentor.

Most people seek out a career mentor when they have just started a new role. Or when their goals at work have had a major overhaul. Or even when they want to try out something no one believes will work and want to make sure it’s a success.

There are many paths to finding yourself in need of a mentor. When you’ve found your mentor you’ll be surprised how easy some things in your life can get. And you’ll be cursing them for how you stop yourself from doing the same old, comfortable, thing you always have.

A mentoring approach supposes that you’re embarking on a new journey and you don’t have the answers, but you have a lot of questions yourself.

What will coaching give you?

A coach is someone that gets to know you on a deeper level. They can be in your industry or a professional coach that focuses on knowing people.

In your personal life you may have someone in a coach role, that person always asking you why you do what you do. And sometimes making you uncomfortable with their surprisingly insightful questions. (That annoying friend that you can’t help but love.)

A professional coach knows when to keep digging or when you need time to process your newly emerged thoughts.

They’re the person that pulls out the more uncomfortable thoughts in your head, the ones you’ve been holding back. 

A coaching approach supposes that you already have the answers and you need the right questions to reach them.

What can a Mentor or Coach help you with?

A mentor helps you…A coach helps you…
learn the approaches you need to tackle challenges with confidence. A mentor helps you use your strengths. overcome fear or internal biases about yourself. A coach helps you find your authentic self. 
define your strengths and weaknesses, use your best side and develop what’s lacking.tell the difference between self-love and love of pleasing others.
understand your priorities and set an impactful course of action.learn to say no to what you don’t want and to say yes to what you want deep inside.
figure out how to develop yourself and your career. figure out who you really are beneath who you think you are. 

What will it be like to work with a Mentor or Coach?

A mentor can…A coach can…
give you specific to-dos for self development or projects you work on.go through exercises with you to redefine your thoughts.
give you direct feedback to better your work.ask you non-judgmental questions about you path
help set long term goals and plans to get understand what you strive for in life.

If you’re lucky to have a good leader in your work life they will help you develop, using a combination of leadership through coaching and mentoring.

The time to involve extra help is when you want to develop in more directions.

A neutral coach can help you look at the situation you are in with new eyes and help you reach the answers about your future path.

A mentor can help you develop the areas in your life and work where your lead is not motivated to.

If reading this has left you with more questions than the ones you started with, reach out to