Coaching Compared to Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring primarily differ in that mentoring is more of an expert-learner relationship with the mentor being the subject matter expert and the person being mentored being the learner. In coaching, whilst the coach may be a subject matter expert, it is not necessary for the success of the coaching relationship. The coaching relationship is more one of “how do we learn together” and the agenda and focus of coaching are held by the coachee.

m & c
Mentoring Coaching
Ongoing relationship that can last for a long period of time and cover many issues Relationship generally has a set duration and/or is based around a specific issue
Can be more informal and meetings can take place as and when the person being mentored needs some advice, guidance or support Generally more structured in nature and meetings are scheduled on a regular basis outcomes set for each meeting
Mentor is usually more experienced and qualified than the person being mentored. They often a senior person in the organisation and seen as an expert who can pass on knowledge, experience and open doors to otherwise out-of-reach opportunities Coaching is generally not performed on the basis that the coach needs to have direct experience of their clients formal occupational role, unless the coaching is specific and skills-focused. When the coaching is transformational, the person being coached is considered the expert in their life
Focus is on career and personal development Focus is generally on personal development (transformational coaching) or personal/issues at work (executive coaching)
Agenda is set by the person being mentored, with the mentor providing support and guidance to prepare them for future roles The agenda is focused on achieving specific, immediate goals
Mentoring revolves more around developing the person being mentored as a professional Coaching revolves more around specific development areas/issues