Coaching and mentoring are increasingly popular processes today, where people receive guidance in order to develop their skills, knowledge, and experience, or meet their goals or objectives. The key difference between the two is that mentoring is more listening whilst coaching is more instruction based. Despite the differences between the two, the skills required in order for them to be effective align very closely.
A coach will work with you to help you build your self -confidence and improve existing skills you may already possess or master new ones. A mentor on the other hand listens to you and helps you come up with different options in order to reach your objectives or goals. In other words, they’ll offer you guidance but they won’t be hands-on in assisting you in making decisions.
There are a range of skills that are required before you can become an effective coach or mentor. While some of these are obvious (such as active listening), others you may not have thought of. Becoming aware of the necessary skills and working on them can both improve your practice and help you to achieve personal growth.
Apart from active listening, it is vital for coaches and mentors to be effective communicators so that they can discuss the persons thoughts, feelings or issues sensitively, and convey intended meanings rather than being ambiguous or come across in the wrong way. This entails being able to anticipate how the other person might interpret your words and changing what you plan to say, if necessary.
Author: Catherine Perri, JUMP trainer