Guest Post by Grace Lau
When looking for professional and personal development, often coaching and mentoring are brought up. Both help individuals to grow, aiming to improve their performance and responses in various situations. However, the two terms have separate meanings and have significant differences in how they carry out their aims. We’ll look at some of the key differences and how you can get the most out of both your mentoring and coaching.
4 Key Differences
Coaching focuses on achieving a specific goal, whether this is in developing your feedback skills, learning to use a chatbot for customer service, or improving performance. Mentoring, alternatively, is more like an apprenticeship where the mentor passes on their wisdom and knowledge to a less experienced mentee. The difference in definition also leads to variation in other aspects of mentorship and coaching.
1. Leader Roles
Mentors may be professionals in a similar field, for example both of you working for an app testing company, or have the same job title. Their knowledge comes from living similar experiences and having navigated them. Meanwhile, a coach knows how to build the skills and meet the demands of your job role without necessarily having done it themself. Depending on your team’s needs, both mentoring and coaching can provide valuable professional growth.
2. Time Scale
If you’re looking for a short-term solution that provides professional growth, you’re more likely to use coaching. This may follow a course or series of sessions to assess and improve your performance, delivering results after a fixed period. Mentoring takes a longer-term approach, potentially checking in with a mentor over several years. The longer development approach allows you to build a relationship with your mentor so you both better understand each other.
Whilst coaching builds specific skills and improves particular behaviors, mentoring can have a broader approach and gives support by building confidence. These can both be used with team members entering new positions or adapting to a role, yet have different types of results.
At different career points, coaching or mentoring may be more aligned with the individual’s needs, providing performance-based improvements, employee recognition or encouragement at key moments.
Coaching tends to be in a one-on-one format, allowing the coach to give you their undivided attention and focus on the skills and improvements specific to your needs. However, mentoring can be done with a group, with multiple mentees in a similar situation benefiting from the mentor. Professional development can be personal and require some amount of vulnerability. This may make it harder in different settings, although both have their unique benefits.
Maximizing Your Mentoring and Coaching
Regardless of whether you’re mentoring or coaching, you want those you’re supervising to get the most from the experience. Using our tips can ensure you use the time effectively to the benefit of their professional development, helping to upskill your team, and improve client retention on your courses. This gives you an idea of what to expect from your sessions.
- Set goals: knowing what you’re aiming at can get both leaders and participants on the same page from the start, keeping your coaching and mentoring content relevant to the end goal.
- Track results: identify how you can track your results best and regularly review the progress made. This may be seen in success with your affiliate programs, through your KPIs, or better teamwork.
- Celebrate successes: improvement happens at different rates depending on the individual, so recognizing and celebrating it in every form can provide encouragement and motivation.
- Give Feedback: where changes are needed or improvements could be made, discuss these and how you might go about them. This helps you get to the core of any issues quickly.
Putting Mentoring and Coaching Into Action
Having covered the basics of mentoring and coaching and their differences, you can better identify what your team needs and the benefits to aim for. This supports and equips your team for seasons of growth, recognizing different results and methods. Likewise, it means you can deliver both coaching and mentoring sessions with more clarity and effectiveness.
About the Author:
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace has also written content for Jobillico and WebSitePulse. Here is her LinkedIn.