“What is the difference between mentoring and coaching?”

Thank you for your question.

I’ve been a mentor and I’ve been a coach, both many times.

A mentor is someone you go to for advice. You’re starting a business, raising a child, planning a sabbatical. You’re doing something for the first time, or at least you’re doing it with a level of incompetence.

You look for someone who has done it before, been there, learned the lessons the hard way. They play the role of a teacher, giving you advice on how to approach problems that they’ve seen before. They may have models, strategies, a network of people who can steer you in the right direction.

In short, they help you.

That’s not a coach. A coach is someone who encourages you to be more yourself. They’re basically very good at seeing past the story, asking questions that force you to learn more about yourself in the process.

Maybe you find yourself unable to do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, or you’re scratching your head asking “is this it?”, or you lack the presence or magic touch to step up a rung in your career.

You look for someone who knows how to bring out the best in people. They may have approaches, tools, strategies that can bring more of your own power to the surface. They know how to bring you out.

In short, they empower you.


Got a question? Get in touch.