Life coach and life mentor, what’s the difference?

As the founder of it’s probably important that I explain the difference between Life Coaching and Life Mentoring as I perceive it.

After reading this, you’ll be able to decide if you need a life coach, a life mentor, or a life coach mentor.

life coach vs mentor

For a clear explanation of Life Coaching, where better to go than to where Carmine Leo provides some great resources and offers a free one hour coaching session. Carmine is very clear that they are coaches and not mentors. He says:

“Life Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counselling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client’s personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be.”

The only thought I’d add to those of Carmine’s would be to include training on the list of what coaching is not. In my mountain analogy, training provides you with the climbing skills and coaching helps you choose your mountain.

So what of mentoring. The word mentor appears first in the classical Greek poem the Odyssey by Homer. Mentor was a character in the poem, a friend of Odysseus who was charged with looking after Odysseus’s son Telemachus during the Trojan War.

Homer Mentor

You can imagine Telemachus growing up and requiring guidance from  Mentor in the absence of his father. Is this any different to you or I, seeking guidance from those who have travelled the road before? Whether you are developing your career, starting a business or getting married, a trusted advisor can smooth your journey and help you avoid the pitfalls. Our journey is normally plotted by trial and error and we only have at hand the advice of well meaning but unqualified friends. How much better to choose a mentor who has specific and appropriate knowledge to help you on your way?

So Life Coaching and Life Mentoring are different. But, like water and air, they both contribute to your success in very different ways!