Taken from www.coachingnetwork.org.uk


What are Coaching and Mentoring?

Both coaching and mentoring are processes that enable both individual and corporate clients to achieve their full potential.

Coaching and mentoring share many similarities so it makes sense to outline the common things coaches and mentors do whether the services are offered in a paid (professional) or unpaid (philanthropic) role.

  • Facilitate the exploration of needs, motivations, desires, skills and thought processes to assist the individual in making real, lasting change.
  • Use questioning techniques to facilitate client's own thought processes in order to identify solutions and actions rather than takes a wholly directive approach
  • Support the client in setting appropriate goals and methods of assessing progress in relation to these goals
  • Observe, listen and ask questions to understand the client's situation
  • Creatively apply tools and techniques which may include one-to-one training, facilitating, counselling & networking.
  • Encourage a commitment to action and the development of lasting personal growth & change.
  • Maintain unconditional positive regard for the client, which means that the coach is at all times supportive and non-judgemental of the client, their views, lifestyle and aspirations.
  • Ensure that clients develop personal competencies and do not develop unhealthy dependencies on the coaching or mentoring relationship.
  • Evaluate the outcomes of the process, using objective measures wherever possible to ensure the relationship is successful and the client is achieving their personal goals.
  • Encourage clients to continually improve competencies and to develop new developmental alliances where necessary to achieve their goals.
  • Work within their area of personal competence.
  • Possess qualifications and experience in the areas that skills-transfer coaching is offered.
  • Manage the relationship to ensure the client receives the appropriate level of service and that programmes are neither too short, nor too long.

The difference between coaching and mentoring

As can be seen above, there are many similarities between coaching and mentoring! Mentoring, particularly in its traditional sense, enables an individual to follow in the path of an older and wiser colleague who can pass on knowledge, experience and open doors to otherwise out-of-reach opportunities. Coaching on the other hand is not generally performed on the basis that the coach has direct experience of their client's formal occupational role unless the coaching is specific and skills focused.

Having said this, there are professionals offering their services under the name of mentoring who have no direct experience of their clients' roles and others offering services under the name of coaching who do. So the moral of the story is, it is essential to determine what your needs are and to ensure that the coach or mentor can supply you with the type and level of service you require, whatever that service is called.