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The subtle difference between a coach and a mentor is that the first concentrates more on helping the mentee improve a specific skill whereas the latter guides the mentees through various aspects of their lives. Furthermore, both mentors and Coaches have supportive roles, they differ in their approach and their methodology; it is important to not confuse the two terms. Mentors can still use coaching techniques but being a mentor does not automatically mean you are a coach as well; you may follow a slightly different approach. We should understand that there are different types of Mentoring programs and how to choose the most suitable for you. Whether it’s “peer to peer”, “one -to- one” or even “group mentoring”, a mentor must be able to choose the one that best suits the situation.

Coaching is usually used across career stages, whereas Mentoring is mainly an official role to manage a transition or support period. Coaching can be used to help improve in specific areas; Mentoring is often more holistic, less diagnostic. However, both emphasize the need for ‘high quality dialogue’, ‘great questions’ and a ‘level of openness and honesty’.

In conclusion, when deciding between coaching and mentoring, it’s important to consider your specific needs and goals. Coaching focuses on improving skills, performance, and achieving short-term objectives. On the other hand, mentoring involves a long-term relationship aimed at providing guidance and support for personal and professional development.

Author: Catherine Perri – JUMP Trainer