The difference between coaching and mentoring begins with their nomenclature: one is training while the other is mentoring. Despite this, both are tools that enhance the attraction and management of talent and skills.
In any case, these two methodologies are committed to boosting human capital, so it is necessary to know them in detail through their differences.
Coaching vs mentoring: who is who
Before focusing on the coaching vs mentoring binomial, it is necessary to address what each of them consists of separately.
Coaching is the accompaniment and training of a person focused on achieving the goals they have set for him or herself. In the process, they will learn to detect and enhance both their skills and competencies and will be able to unblock those obstacles that prevent them from reaching their maximum potential.
Mentoring is a training strategy whereby a specialist in a specific area transmits their knowledge and skills to a person to help them develop professionally within a company or institution and meet the company’s objectives. The mentor must have proven experience, and the mentee must be open to change.
A common feature is that both can be good strategies for learning, detecting, and managing talent.
Difference between coaching and mentoring
The main difference is given by the definitions of the words coaching and mentoring. Thus, the first is training, and the latter a tutelage, so their implications differ from the same starting point.
While coaching is task-oriented and helps the client reach their full potential, mentoring focuses on transmitting knowledge and skills to help the mentee grow.
We delve into the differences between coaching and mentoring by comparing several critical elements.
As far as coaching is concerned, it concentrates on reaching a goal and enhancing the person’s performance, but it does not work on technical skills but instead focuses on interpersonal skills.
In contrast, mentoring is a much broader process through transmitting knowledge and long-term accompaniment. The mentor is usually a person who belongs to the company or has the necessary experience to help the apprentice develop.
The objective of coaching is to accompany the person in discovering how they can achieve the goals they have set using their own potential that they do not know or know how to express.
In turn, mentoring aims to help the person acquire the skills and experience transmitted by the mentor. However, it is not about achieving short-term goals, but it can be achieved gradually over time.
Coaching, in most cases, is developed in a certain number of work sessions to achieve set milestones, mostly in the short term.
Regarding mentoring, it is considered a more lasting relationship -even years- where the person’s development and acquisition of knowledge and experience prevails.
At the beginning of the relationship with the mentee, the coach will observe and ask questions so that the mentee can set his or her objectives. In that sense, he focuses rather on the task and never gives his opinion, that is to say, he functions as a mirror for his client.
The dynamic of mentoring is more directive. The first step is to define the objectives. If it is a business mentoring, these must be faithful to the organization’s strategy, although it does not focus on the tasks, but on the relationship with its mentee.
Specialization and training
The coach is not an expert in the areas of knowledge of his client’s objectives but a specialist in accompaniment techniques.
A professional coach must have received some training on coaching methodology and its different approaches, such as emotional, transpersonal, systemic, etc.
On the contrary, mentoring requires a specialization of the mentor since it is based on one person’s training through the wisdom and experience of another. However, it does not require specific training.
For this reason, it is easier or quicker to put it into practice. This does not mean that it should not respond to a previous organization in which the objectives are studied, and a roadmap is marked.
Relationship between participants
While the coach does not provide solutions, but accompanies the process so that the answers emanate from the mentee in a relationship of equals, in mentoring there is a sort of hierarchical relationship by specialization in which the mentor frames and provides solutions.
Thus, mentoring is a flexible methodology since the mentor’s techniques evolve as they have to adapt to the mentee’s needs. In this sense, it is a two-way relationship where the mentee learns from someone who has experience in a specific area, and, in turn, mentors have the opportunity to transmit what they can offer, creating continuity and long-term communication vessels in the company.
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