The Main Differences Between Mentoring and Coaching

Talking over what are the main differences are between mentoring and coaching

The Main Differences Between Mentoring and Coaching

3 Minute Read

At first glance, mentoring and coaching may seem extremely similar. In fact, many people believe they’re the same thing, but there are some key aspects that differentiate one from the other. Knowing those differences is especially crucial if we’re talking about training inside an organisation or, are looking for them to start on a coaching or mentoring apprenticeship.

  1. Personalisation

One of the greatest differences between these methods of learning is the way they’re tailored for the person being trained. Mentoring is highly personalised, and the challenges discussed may not necessarily be related to the company. The mentee can also expand their network by making connections with multiple mentors.

On the other hand, coaching is a more predefined and repeatable process. It is generally deployed by the organisation, which has identified a specific skill gap that needs to be filled by the coach. The professional uses generalised material, and there aren’t opportunities to establish a relationship.

  1. Who drives the process?

When talking about mentoring, it is the duty of the mentee to establish the goals for the relationship and the paths that it will follow. In this method of training, this party is the most interested in reaching a certain objective; thus, it is the one that needs to be more dedicated.

However, since coaching is performance-driven, it’s the coach or supervisor who needs to define an agenda. A coach is assigned to teach about a specific skill, therefore needing to ensure the trainee gets the knowledge. This process vaguely resembles a school system, in which the coach is like a teacher. On the other hand, a mentor acts like a particular teacher, in which learning depends much more on the student.

  1. Time required

Mentoring is a process that takes much more time than coaching. Unlike a simple course of fixed duration, mentors and mentees establish an actual relationship which can go on for as long as they want.

Coaching does have a defined date to end. The parties can remain friends after the end of the process, but since the coachee masters the skill they were aiming for, their relationship usually slows down. Again, this brings some resemblances to the system used in schools or universities.

Which one is best for your organisation?

Both mentoring and coaching brings many benefits to the trainee, but which one should you apply to your team?

Mentoring is best for improving general performance and knowledge and developing the career of a member. However, the company shouldn’t look at this process as a generalised solution due to its characteristic of personalisation.

If there’s a specific skill gap, the organisation identified, coaching may be the solution. The standardised training method offered by this process is optimal for resolving issues such as a specific lack of knowledge by a skilled member of the team.

How to get your team trained?

Coaching and mentoring apprenticeships are a great way to help your teams learn new skills or enhance current skills while increasing their confidence, too. It doesn’t matter who the employee is, there’s something they can learn.

You might be thinking that only new recruits or those who recently joined your organisation need one of these apprenticeships. Managers are senior employees, but seniority doesn’t give them a free pass for knowing how to do or use something and everything.

Contact our team on 0800 783 2545 or email

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