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The Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring

Companies, organization, and sometimes even educational instructions conduct coaching and mentoring sessions. The two terms are so often used together that many people feel that they are one and the same. However, that is not the case. Coaching and mentoring are two different things with different methods and processes.

What is coaching?

Coaching is a development program that is skill and task oriented. In a work place, coaching sessions are generally conducted between a new employee and a senior employee. If an employee is moved to a new function, he/she will receive training on the new work process. The superior conducting this session is called coach or trainer.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a process where an experienced person helps another person build life skills and develop positive thoughts for a better life and/or career. A mentor focuses on the personal development or career development of a person and not just on particular tasks or processes. A life coach can be a mentor, helping the individual work through the difficult times in life and emerge successful and happy. A person providing mentoring is called a mentor.

Differences between coaching and mentoring

More of a training session where a supervisor trains a new employeeAn advisory process where an experienced person advises, guides, and supports another person
May or may not involve monetary exchangeMentoring is done out of free will and doesn’t involve any monetary exchange
Focuses on building skill sets for particular tasksFocuses on creating a positive vibe and improving the confidence of the mentored person
A coaching session is task oriented and the evaluation of the coaching session is based on the performance of the traineeA mentoring program is relationship oriented. Mentoring involves creating a comfortable environment where the mentee can explore his/her talents, abilities, and skills
Emphasis on task and performanceEmphasis on personal and career development
Usually short termMentoring is a long term process
Coaching sessions usually happen in formal situations. The mode of coaching is also formalMentoring happens informally, usually takes the form of conversations or discussions between the life coach and the mentee
The goal of a coaching session is to make the trainee aware of the new process, techniques, methods, or skills and improve the work performanceThe aim of a mentoring program is to empower the mentee gain maturity, learn life skills, and make confident decisions.
Coaching focuses on strategic thinking and effective executionMentoring focuses on self-perception and building confidence

As you can see in the above table, there are many differences between coaching and mentoring. Though both coaching and mentoring are widely different, they have a common goal in improving the individual – in the tasks they do or the decisions they make.

When to have coaching and/or mentoring sessions

When a company starts a new workflow, brings in a new employee, or plans to teach new skills to the employees, the company can organize coaching/training programs

When a company is planning to improve the talent pool or start a leadership development program, the company can plan a mentoring program.

I Design My Life offers coaching and mentoring programs for employees of corporate companies. We plan and organize coaching and mentoring sessions based on the specific requirements of each company. Contact us for more details.

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