Business mentors and Coaches are a topic that is mentioned a lot at the moment with questions around – What do they do? Do I need one? What is the difference between a mentor and a coach? How do I know which one I need?
Mentoring and Coaching are commonly used interchangeably in a business context. That is why in many instances a mentor is also expected to undertake coaching responsibilities. However, there is a large difference between mentors and coaches.
A Mentor is someone who has knowledge, experience and skills that they offer to their mentees to guide them. They help their mentees consider opportunities for career growth, improve interpersonal skills and gain confidence. A mentor serves as a professional advisor and role model helping mentees to develop new contacts, set development goals and identify resources. This role is typically reactive as they respond to issues as they arise and is a more informal arrangement.
Mentors can traditionally be found within business organisations as mentors can help employees gain more confidence and develop skills that add value. Confident employees are what steers an organisation, which helps to explain the new trend of larger businesses implementing mentoring programs. Professional programs such as CANZ requires a 3 year mentoring program to be completed before signing candidates off.
Business coaches focus on specific skills and developing goals to be completed within a specified time frame. Business coaches help to identify and prioritise goals which can be a challenge for businesses. They are there to keep businesses more accountable, competitive and goal driven. This is a more formal arrangement than having a mentor.
Coaches assess businesses so they can recognise a business’s core strength and formulate strategies, set targets and identify the steps required to achieve the goals. They cover various aspects of a business which may include marketing, leadership, team building, communication skills etc.
Both Coaches and Mentors can benefit businesses in different ways, however, to receive the most benefit you need to be clear on what your business priorities are and what kind of support you are looking for. As with the right support, a business can become more competitive, profitable and productive.
Read our next article to see some Business Mentor & Coach options.