Why Mentoring Isn't Enough

“Who exactly seeks out a coach? Winners who want more out of life.” – Chicago Tribune

Recently I discussed mentoring. The focus for this post is on coaching. I understand that many people use these two terms interchangeably. Mentoring and coaching can be a nice compliment to each other, but we need to understand the difference so we may be effective with both activities in our leadership development.Mentoring is typically sharing knowledge and experience, which equals wisdom. Typically, the mentor is older than the mentee, hence the experiential component. However, sharing of knowledge and information may move in both directions. In a mentorship relationship, advice is given to the mentee and the mentor leads the path.Coaching is a partnership, whereby the coach walks beside the mentee on the path. The coach supports the coachee in the coachee’s self-discovery. Often times, the coaching relationship begins with awareness of self, including clarification of values, plans, dreams, and goals. In a coaching relationship, the coach is a sounding board, a mirror to reflect back, and an excavator to help the coachee unearth his or her own inner wisdom.

A coach does not give advice, only support and resources.

Coaches help coachees see additional perspectives, options, and choices that may be hidden from the coachee. Coaches work together with the coachee to develop action plans. Coaches are cheerleaders and accountability partners.For many of us on the self-development path, we seek support from both mentors and coaches. Sometimes that person may be the same individual, recognizing the important distinction of when to lead, when to walk side-by-side, and when to follow. Knowing the difference is wisdom.With love,Maria