Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring are usually used interchangeably in the business context. That is why in a lot of organisations, a mentor is expected to undertake coaching responsibilities which hinder the process of coaching as well as mentoring. There is a significant difference between coaching and mentoring and both the process have their own value and significance.


Coaching is a relationship that generally has a short duration. In coaching, the coachee needs to be comfortable with the coach and should be open and honest about his/her situations.

Coaching is basically a process in which coach helps the coachee to achieve the goals. Coach helps in removing the barriers like prejudices, lack of motivation, lack of direction and enable coachee to fulfil his/her aspirations.

Coaching is a process which helps the individual to develop their skills like leadership, self-awareness, resilience, self-management, and learning. It also helps the coachee to develop empathy with others, to see the bigger picture clearly, and consider the issue that they may have ignored or failed to identify as important or crucial.

Coaching can be for a longer or a shorter-term depending upon the goals or needs of the individual. It is particularly powerful when used to solve problems regarding behavioral or line management. It is more structured in nature and usually, the meetings between coach and coachee are scheduled on a regular basis. In coaching, coachee sets the agenda and create immediate and realistic goal which will take him/her towards the ultimate target. These goals majorly revolves around specific personal developmental areas i.e. related to behaviour, attitudes, or self-awareness.

A coach is likely to give feedback on observed performance periodically as the learner develops new skills.


“A mentor is a more experienced individual willing to share knowledge with someone less experienced in a relationship of trust.”- David Clutterbuck

It is an ongoing process which usually lasts for a longer time. Mentoring process will only be successful when there is a constructive relationship between the mentor and mentee. It is a relationship where an experienced person uses his/her knowledge to help the less experienced person to improve or help to solve problems. Many organisations use mentoring while helping new people who have just joined the leadership for the first time, moved from one project to another, in a need to quickly learn new skills, need to learn different working styles in order to work effectively.

It can be either formal or informal in nature depending upon the situation or goals of the mentee. In mentoring the agenda is usually set by the mentee with the mentor providing some support or guidance. Goals usually revolve around developing mentees personally and professionally i.e. improving skills and their application at the workplace.

A mentor will build the capability of the mentee by helping him/her to discover wisdom by encouraging to work towards achieving the goals. Usually, the mentor doesn’t have the authority over mentee and the relationship is mutually beneficial. A mentor also helps mentees to develop greater confidence.

Filed under: Coaching

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