Do You Know The Difference Between A Coach And A Mentor?

  • Rita Chowdhry
  • May 1, 2018
Have you ever been told you need a ‘coach’ or ‘mentor’? Perhaps your business hires a coach or mentor, but you’ve never really considered there is any difference between the two. If you are employing either of these, it’s important to take the time to differentiate as each are very different in their own right.
Although there are differences in the way coaching and mentoring is delivered, they do have many similarities (particularly in the workplace):
Benefits of using a Coach and/or Mentor…
  • Unleashes an individual’s potential and encourages a change of thinking to achieve results
  • Contributes to the success of a business; investing in staff gives a feeling of stability for the individual
  • Recognises any potential obstructions in achieving goals and defines any resources, training, etc that may be required
  • Allows individuals to understand their personality style, along with colleagues – improving communication and interpersonal skills
  • Improves management performance

Coaches will generally:

  • Look at immediate problems and opportunities for the Coachee to work on. For example if somebody is:
    • Seeking promotion
    • Wanting to advance their leadership skills
    • Looking to improve performance
    • Trying to have more of a work life balance
    • Wanting to boost their confidence

  • Be non-judgemental and impartial but hold the Coachee accountable for their actions
This is the reason why success and achieving goals is higher when you work with a coach. A coach will typically ask questions like:
‘What do you want to achieve in your working life?’
‘What obstacles could stand in your way?’
‘What’s the first step you need to take?’
  • The agenda for the sessions is set by the Coachee
  • Little to no advice is given by the Coach and instead encourages self-discovery. This way, you get a higher commitment as it’s not a solution imposed or suggested to them
  • Usually a structured format of regular meetings with the Coachee to challenge them, generally across a set duration, to ensure action is being taken in between each session
Mentors will generally:
  • Be specialised in a particular subject. For example, if you wanted to become a lawyer, you would find somebody with experience in this field.
  • They will have a clear idea of what type of skill set the individual will need to reach their goals
  • Focus on progress of an individual, asking questions such as;
    ‘What do you want to accomplish this year?’
    ‘How can I help?’
    ‘What do you struggle with currently?’
  • Look at the long-term progression for an individual and their personal career development

  • Generally more informal, with advice usually be given as and when the individual needs it
  • The agenda for the sessions is set by the mentor to establish goals and
    how best to work towards these.
If you would like to learn more about how using a coach or mentor can improve your business, get in touch! Start turning your business into a Savvi one via

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