Alexander Martinez coaching solutions

Coaching and mentoring, are those the same thing?

As I mentioned in another article, coaching is a methodology through which the client (coachee) can discover points that could be learned or reinforced to find solutions for his or her challenges. In other words, coaching helps us grow as professionals. But it must be recognized that coaching is not a quick solution. It requires effort and commitment, as well as time.

There is another term that, despite being very similar, does not seek the same objective. I am referring to mentoring. The truth is that many people don’t know how to differentiate these two concepts. What’s more, many professionals who are dedicated to training people even come to think that it is the same thing. While preparing to be an executive coach, I heard many participants admit to having been practising mentoring but calling it coaching for many years.

A mentor is a person who seeks to advise, guide and help by sharing not only their experiences, contacts and knowledge but also their vision. They are people who have a great desire to see others succeed. Unlike a coaching session, in which questions are asked seeking a moment of self-realization on the part of the coachee, in mentoring experience is used to give advice.

People will always want personal or work-related help, and we humans love to advise as it gives us a sense of connection and empowerment. Therefore, there will always be mentors. Surely, we know a person in the company with many years of experience who has achieved great things and even helped many to grow.

The problem is that there are also negative mentors, and it is difficult to recognize them at first glance. They also have a lot of experience, contacts and knowledge, but they can drag bad habits (without realizing it or not recognizing them as such) that will also pass on to the mentee.

Happily, in my career, I have met mostly positive mentors. I remember one in particular who even, without getting any direction from HR, decided to schedule time each week outside of work hours to help a specific colleague who needed help. It even seemed that he had made it his personal goal to get this colleague to move up in the organization.

There are internal and external mentors. An internal mentor would be someone from the same company but with much more experience and contacts, willing to share what he knows with people who are generally younger. It is usual for companies to have the initiative to promote internal mentoring; this is typically not paid. An external mentor would instead be a professional who shares experiences, knowledge and suggestions through a paid service.

Although coaching and mentoring are relatively similar concepts, they should be distinct since the objective differs. It is true that some coaches are or can also be mentors. The client must evaluate what he or she prefers. There is something very true. If we have been lucky enough to have a positive mentor (not everyone is) at some stage in our career, we have been able to verify the great benefits of his or her advice. A coach can help a professional to develop or refine her potential, grow and achieve her goals, but it won’t be easy to match the affection or closeness of a good mentor.

If you want to try coaching, do not hesitate to contact me via the web or schedule a meeting directly.

Alexander Martinez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Book An Appointment