5 Differences between Coaching and Mentoring – Do you agree?

Recently I read a white paper (Management Mentors 2013) that claimed 25 distinctions between coaching and mentoring.  That seemed like a large difference in terms of distinctions.  The thought occurred as to the accuracy of the distinctions themselves.  To that end an abbreviated version of first 5 differences between the two areas follow for your review and comment.

  1. Coaching is task oriented and requires the coach to be expert and credible. The development of a long term relationship is said to be not critical for success.

Mentoring on the hand is described as relationship oriented and transformational in scope.  The mentor is not required to be an expert as the role is facilitation rather than coaching.

  1. Coaching is short term in nature. The association lasts only as long as it takes for the task to be completed.

Mentoring is described as always being long term.  At least 9 – 12 months are required for a relationship of trust and security to develop.

  1. Coaching is noted as being performance driven. The emphasis is on improvement most likely on the job.  Once new skills are acquired the coaching is deemed to be complete.

Mentoring on the other hand is noted as being development driven.  The purpose is to develop the individual for the future in terms of work or career.

  1. Coaching can begin almost immediately on most topics. Preparation time is noted as being minimal.

Mentoring is stated to require a design phase necessary to determine the strategic purpose of the mentorship.

  1. Coaching is stated to require a partnership with the individual seeking the coaching and their direct manager. That partnership provides the coach with additional information.

Mentoring does not have the same direct relationship.  The manager of the person being mentored does not communicate with the mentor during the mentorship time.

From my perspective the distinctions are not completely accurate.  Coaching and mentorship are both used in business and personally for people wishing to alter their lives. There are other areas of discrepancy as well.  What resonates as accurate or inaccurate with you?

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at info@effectiveplacement.com