Coaching versus Mentoring – the benefits of both!

Most weeks I get to share information with the general public on what coaching is, and every time I do, lots of people ask me “what’s the difference?  They’re pretty similar aren’t they”.  And that’s a statement, not a question.

Actually, they’re not.  I qualified as a mentor back in the late 90’s and upgraded my mentoring skills a few years ago, and I qualified as a coach in 2004, so I feel I can shed some light on what the differences are.

The problem is in the language we are used to hearing.  You see we are used to coaches in sport telling their teams  or athletes what to do, they are coaching them to be better, greater, more than, so it makes sense that the general public would assume that telling others what to do means coaching.  But in the ‘new’ definition of coaching individuals in their personal or professional lives it’s very different and in my opinion, it has to be.  After all, who am I to tell you what to do?  You know you better than I ever will.  Therefore personal coaching can bring out of you what you know and help you to fill in any gaps where you don’t know.

Ok here’s my shorthand version of coaching versus mentoring, the differences.

Asks open questions

100% about the client

No Advice

The client has all the answers within and if they don’t know something, the coach will ask them who they can get the answer from

The client is the expert the coach asks questions that no-one has probably ever asked the client before

The client takes full responsibility for the outcomes of the session and agrees to go away and take action

The client will report back their success and actions at the next session

Can ask leading questions

50% about the client

Gives advice and guidance

The client doesn’t know so needs the mentor to tell them in order to fill in the gaps

The mentor is the expert, the mentee is there to learn

The mentee may or may not take action after a mentoring session, though it is advisable

The mentee may or may not have actions to report back
We can’t coach out of you what you don’t know so mentoring is invaluable, but even when you know what you didn’t know before, there is still the possibility you might not take action.  This is where coaching works beautifully alongside or after mentoring.  The coach, with your permission, will ask you – what stopped you from taking action? Often it can be fear, a feeling that you should want the goal even if you don’t really, you’re not motivated or any number of other things.  By your coach holding you accountable you are more likely to find yourself moving towards success faster than if you tried to achieve your goals alone.


.Cropped pic Pam

Pam Lidford is a coach and trainer and is here to help you with any personal or professional development goals you may want to work on.

Pam Lidford / Confidence Coach / 07703 271261
01727 422572