Mentors and coaches are trusted advisors who support the professional growth of their protégés. But while mentoring and coaching complement one another, there are also distinct differences between the two.
Both relationships have value in helping professionals develop personally and professionally. However, even though they imply similar meanings, they are vastly different. The ultimate question is: How do they play a part in providing personal support to employees?
Coaching vs Mentoring: What’s the difference?
Coaching and mentoring both occur in a one-on-one environment, with regular communication and check-ins between two parties. The most significant difference is in the type of support that is provided to the mentee.
Coaching is based upon a performance-based model. The objective is to help employees grow in their current roles by identifying areas for improvement, thinking critically about how to address those weaknesses, and implementing solutions that will help them succeed in their job.
Mentoring is based on an as-needed basis, where the objective is to provide guidance on specific challenges or tasks from someone who has been in the position to help ease the transition into a new.
Ultimately, coaching seeks out answers from those being coached rather than providing them directly. Mentors, on the other hand, typically give their mentees direction and counsel.
Why is coaching beneficial to employees?
Coaching helps employees grow in a role they enjoy by identifying ways they can improve their productivity, efficiency, time management skills and more. By providing employees with the tools to perform their best in their current roles, they can avoid feeling stuck in a position they don’t wish to be in. Those who want to advance to a new role or change careers but feel trapped or unclear about how to proceed can also benefit greatly from coaching.
Depending on the circumstance, coaching can be provided by a manager, a mentor, a peer or even a coach. No matter the arrangement, the coach will support them in identifying their strengths and weaknesses. A strategy will then be devised to address each area for development to help them perform better.
Why is mentoring beneficial to employees?
Mentors help individuals navigate the early stages of their career, whether it is their first job out of college or an unanticipated promotion. Ideally, the relationship between a mentor and mentee should begin before the individual is employed, as it is advantageous to have an advisor who can help navigate the interview and onboarding process from the onset.
Employees at all levels of an organisation, including those who have been with the company for a while, can benefit from mentors. As individuals progress in their careers, they are likely to receive more responsibilities that they need help managing – which mentoring can help guide how to balance them all. Managing a demanding co-worker, learning how to deal with overly rigid management, or figuring out how to solve a complex business challenge are all challenging scenarios mentors can help with.
When might someone benefit from coaching?
Employees who have mastered the necessary skills and knowledge for their position and wish to improve their performance-based indicators, such as productivity and time management, can benefit greatly from coaching.
For instance, coaching could benefit a team manager looking for strategies to boost productivity or help their team members become more efficient. Coaching is also helpful if an individual is trying to make a career change but is unsure how to get there. Coaching is essential when you want to elevate the leadership skills of your leaders.
Coaching is also helpful for employees going through transition such as being newly promoted, new hires or if they are new parents for example. A coach can help identify the skills one would need to make that shift and establish a strategy for acquiring those skills by providing them with the support and guidance they need to overcome challenges and make a smooth transition.
When might someone benefit from mentoring?
A mentoring relationship is often initiated when an individual is first starting out. Mentoring can help them ease into their new role if they are new to their field or have recently made a career transition.
Mentoring is often focused on helping an individual get up to speed in their new role, but it can also provide insight into one’s career path. A mentor can offer guidance and advice when it comes to deciding which path to take or help troubleshoot problems one may face in a particular role. This mentoring relationship can benefit both parties, as mentors often find that it reinvigorates their careers and provides them with a sense of purpose.
Both coaching and mentoring are great ways to help employees develop their skills and navigate challenging situations. In fact, many companies provide coaching and mentoring to employees, or at least offer it as a benefit .
Coaching and mentoring are very similar in many ways: both are one-on-one relationships in which an employee is paired with an advisor who helps them grow professionally. However, there are also differences: coaching is based on a performance-based model, where the objective is to help employees grow in their current roles by identifying areas for improvement. Mentoring is based on an as-needed basis, where the aim is to guide specific challenges or tasks from someone who has been in the position priorly.
In summary, coaching and mentoring have their benefits and functions in a workplace. Depending on the circumstance, both can be utilised simultaneously or one over the another to support professional advancement.
At BestOfMe, our experts play both a coach and a mentor role to equip individuals with the tools they need to achieve their maximum potential and push themselves to new levels of endurance. Our coaches are subject-matter-experts having at least 15 years of corporate experience in a leadership role before becoming a professional coach. With our extensive resources on leadership coaching and, actionable advice, and expert guidance, achieving one’s desired success is attainable. Contact us and speak to our friendly consultant to learn more about our programs and how we can help you and your leaders to be better leaders.
 Sofiah, A. (2022). Workplace learning trends from Singapore’s inaugural Jobs-Skills Quarterly Insights. Humanresourcesonline.net. Retrieved 25 July 2022, from https://www.humanresourcesonline.net/workplace-learning-trends-from-singapore-s-inaugural-jobs-skills-quarterly-insights.
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