Coaching vs Mentoring
The terms coach and mentor are used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing? The short answer is not quite. Both coaching and mentoring are similar, in that, the end goal of improvement is present, but coaches and mentors have very different paths to get there. Let’s break this down a little further.
A coach takes on a formal, calculated role. They identify strength and weaknesses and work directly on teaching you ways to improve or enhance. Coaches are also much more goal focused with concrete statistics used as measurements of success. In sports, a coach will run drills and work you to the point of exhaustion. That hard work is assigned to you for the sole purpose of making you stronger. You measure that success by clocking your sprint speed or increasing accuracy.
A coach also does more talking directly to individuals. They come up with an action plan, implement it, and track performance. All the while, adjusting and tweaking the plan based on overall performance. Coaches are normally not picked, but rather assigned to an individual as well.
Mentors assume a much different role from coach. Right from the start, a relaxed, informal approach is often adopted. They work with you to identify areas of growth, but also create a path for a mutually beneficial relationship. You will learn from each other and help the other person as much as possible. Mentors also provide plenty of choices to the mentee – all based on what the individual wants to get out of the relationship.
Mentors speak with the individual under their care rather than to them. They provide feedback, guidance, and suggestions rather than orders. Mentors are also picked by the individual seeking guidance and agreed upon by the mentor. Both parties work together to find the appropriate number of meetings, defining end goals, and the path taken to get there.