Many people believe that coaching and mentoring are the same, and we can see why. The reality is that although these talent development programs are similar, they are also very different.

What is Coaching?

What is coaching?

Coaching is considered one of the first steps to improve an employee’s performance within an organization. It involves a relationship between a professionally trained coach and a coachee who agree on accomplishing specific career development and performance goals. Coaching can be understood as the coachee receiving specific directions from the coach that will result in a specific career direction they need to achieve. 

Throughout many organizations, coaching programs have been implemented to give employees the opportunity to focus on the skills they may be lacking and become more proficient when performing required tasks. Whether the employee is preparing to take over a senior role or simply looking to improve their management competencies, coaching gives them a way to learn skills needed to excel within their organization.

For a coaching program to be successful in any organization, these factors should be taken into consideration…

  • The coach should be able to impart specific skills or know-how to the coachee.
  • Coaching programs tend to be targeted at career development for leaders or high potentials. By making the program more exclusive, organizations can cater to a smaller audience and make the program more specifically tailored.
  • Coaches are usually brought in from outside, are vetted by someone within the organization. The coach is typically assigned a few choices of coachees based on what skills the coachees need to develop.
  • Coaches are professionally trained, as coaching is typically their full-time job.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a powerful way for an organization to grow and develop their talent. Mentoring involves a partnership between an experienced mentor and a mentee who wants to learn from that experience. It can be understood as the mentor guiding the mentee on a journey, sharing experiences that the mentee needs in order to further their career.

Mentoring has shown to be one of the most valuable and effective development opportunities an organization can offer employees. Having the guidance encouragement and support of a trusts and experienced mentor can provide a mentee with a broad range of personal and professional benefits. this leads to improved performance in the workplace.

Advantages of Mentoring for an organization include...

  • Helps achieve talent development goals such as succession planning and ensuring solid leadership development.
  • Informs employees throughout the company that leadership is willing to invests in its workforce.
  • Improves talent acquisition efforts as new hires are aware of the organization's career development opportunities.
  • Fosters employees retention, which can lead to a reduction in turnover rates.
  • Lowers cost of training
  • Harnesses the power of natural leadership

What are the differences between Coaching and Mentoring?

  • Coaching focuses on asking; Mentoring focuses on advising
  • Coaching has a narrow target- leaders or hi-potentials; Mentoring targets across all levels 
  • Coaches are usually assigned by the administrator; Mentors are usually chosen by mentees
  • Coaches can be internal or external; Mentors are usually only internal
  • Coaching can cost more; Mentoring typically costs less

What do Coaching and Mentoring have in common?

Coaching and Mentoring have the following similarities...

  • Focus on individual and his/her agenda
  • Relationship-based partnership
  • Highly interactive, two-way relationship
  • On-going program
  • Development focus
  • Goal-oriented individually
  • Strategic organizationally

Both coaching and mentoring serve a specific purpose to an organization, in one way or another. They both impact employee efficiency and profitability and in turn the ROI for the organization.