Coaching and Mentoring: What’s the Relationship?

In past posts I’ve looked at the difference between coaching and mentoring, why you might need a mentor and how to find a good mentor.

In this post I’d like to look at the relationship between coaching and mentoring.

I believe that while coaching can stand alone, mentoring requires some initial coaching with the mentee to be fully effective.

Coaching and mentoring

You can be coached around your goals, your vision and your limiting beliefs. Your coach may help you work through issues and options that may be facing you at any point in time. At no time during coaching should specific advice be offered or options offered.

The mentor on the other hand is required to provide advice based on their experience and knowledge. A mentor will work with you to identify possible hurdles that you may face as you undertaken your chosen path. He or she will provide guidance and suggestions to smooth the way ahead for you.

One of the ways mentoring can go wrong is where the mentor fails to ask the appropriate coaching questions before embarking on the mentoring process. Questions such as:

“Are you clear on your personal vision for the future?”

“How aware are you of your strengths and weaknesses?”

“What have been your previous successes?”

“When have you felt under pressure?”

future objectives

Without these type of questions the mentor can be tempted to base his or her advice on their perception of what the mentee needs. The mentor’s story is an important part of the mentoring process but the focus must always be on the needs and specific aspirations of the mentee.

So coaching and mentoring are definitely related. Coaching can exist without mentoring but mentoring will always be enhanced by good quality coaching skills.