Coach vs Mentor: The Differences to Help You Choose (2023)

When you need a push to keep going, should you turn to a mentor or coach? It may not be clear what the differences are between the two, but there are some very important ones to keep in mind. There are significant differences between the coach and the mentor in terms of their relationship, goals, expectations, and evaluations. Read all about them and choose the one that suits you best!

Coach or Mentor: What's the difference?

Coach vs Mentor: The Differences to Help You Choose (1)
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Differences between coach and mentor

Coach vs Mentor: The Differences to Help You Choose (2)

What is a business mentor?

Mentors of all kinds are people who use their personal and professional experience to help others who want to follow a similar path. With business mentors, the mentoring is focused on the professional level and is often career oriented. Business mentors help mentees grow their careers, improve interpersonal skills, and achieve career goals.

What does a business mentor do?

Business mentors can help business trainees set goals, make plans to achieve them, and keep them on track to achieve those goals. They can offer professional advice, facilitate new business contacts and act as a resource for the business community.

What is a business coach?

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A business coach focuses much more on creating clear steps to get you where you need to be in your career development. They focus on the skills you need to master and the projects or stepping stones you need to work towards to get to where you want to be.

Business coaches can also be used for a company, not an individual. In this case, the business coach focuses more on getting a business to where it needs to be within a given time frame and taking smaller steps to achieve those goals. This can include individual employee goals, but generally the focus is on the success of the company.

What does a business coach do?

Business coaches for individuals work with their clients to understand what they have done in the past and what can be achieved in the future. They analyze company goals, determine a path to get there, and break the path down into smaller steps that ultimately lead to success for you or your company.

Duration of the process

Mentorship can last a lifetime if the relationship is successful. While mentorships may wax and wane throughout life, they can remain intact and mentees should feel like they are coming into contact with a mentor after a while.

However, trainers work to a strict schedule that often lasts less than a year. Trainers still want their clients to be successful and welcome updates, but the relationship is temporary.

performance or development

While coaching is performance driven, mentoring is mentee development driven. This could mean professional development, interpersonal skills and/or professional networking.

Mentors want to see you grow. Coaches want to see you grow too, but they will measure your growth with performance results. They will check that you are meeting the goals and hold you accountable for your performance.

applications and contexts

Because coaching is aimed at achieving specific goals, the coach is an expert hired to help an individual or a company. They clearly define the task and its execution, so it can be said that they have priority.

Mentors focus on human relationships, with the knowledge and experience that personal life also influences professional life.

Built Structures

There is limited structure in the tutoring. Participants often take time to get to know each other during the process. Subsequently, meetings and evaluations can be held as needed.

However, coaching can start immediately during the first session or meeting, is structured by requirements and results, and is highly organized to achieve goals.

focus and orientation

The trainers are only professionals. Trainers are there for a purpose and they will focus on that.

Mentors, on the other hand, can develop a more personal relationship with the mentee. EITHERguideYou can also take a more holistic view of the protégé as a whole, looking at factors beyond the race.

Leadership Supervision and Contribution

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In coaching, trainers provide clear and conscious feedback and regularly monitor your performance on tasks. Information is usually provided in training sessions and supervision can take place outside of sessions.

In a tutorial, supervision is less formal. A mentor is likely to know what he is doing and offer suggestions if she feels it is necessary. However, the most likely way is for the mentee to directly ask the mentor for her opinion.

result and evaluation

The judgment is clear in a coaching relationship. A trainer and client meet at the beginning of the agreement and set goals and agree how to measure them against those goals. Example: "Contact three new sales contacts per week." If you do not meet this goal, you will be graded as such.

Mentoring is more challenging to decide on the outcome and evaluation of the relationship. A mentee and mentor should have ideas about what they want to offer and benefit from mentoring, and they should talk about those goals and ideas early on.

However, the guide results are more fluid and may change over time. While in coaching the results and deadlines are clearly expressed.

What do you need?

1. When should I use a mentor?

You needUse a mentor when you are in school, recent graduates or new to a field or to a large company. People also often seek advice when they meet someone personally and/or professionally whom they admire professionally and seek information and guidance on how to achieve similar success.

2. When to use a coach

A coach is best used when an individual or organization has specific goals they want to achieve and needs professional help to achieve them. Individuals or organizations may choose to seek out a coach when performance is not up to par or when they are experiencing something new and untried.

3. Think about your internship

Use your career goals as the basis for deciding whether you need a coach or mentor.

When you're just starting out, you need an experienced mentor who can guide you along the way.

If you're already on the right track but need a concrete push or help to level up, a trainer is for you.

4. Identify your needs

If you can identify your specific needs, a coach is a good idea. Coaches can help you achieve specific goals.

If you're not sure where to go or how to get there, a mentor can help you refine your goals and provide industry-specific advice based on their experience.

5. Strive to have it all

You don't feel like you have to choose a coach or a mentor, you can have anyone.

Coaches and mentors may have a purpose at different stages of their career. You may choose to start with a mentor and then find a coach for an added boost. Or maybe you know you need a coach now, but then you'll connect with someone who would be a great mentor.

6. Pay attention to the advice of the elders

Look at the successful people or companies you want to be and find out what resources they used. Do you have a clear mentor or have you been open about using multiple coaches? Try to find out this to help you in your decision to choose a coach or mentor.

Summary of Coach vs Mentor

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1. Speaking "For" vs. "With".

Mentors talk “with” mentees to find out what they are looking for, where they need support, and how they are doing.

Coaches talk "with" their clients about their goals and the steps to get there.

second approach

This is usually a self-directed approach where the mentor and mentee meet organically, or perhaps through a mutual connection. Focus is very fluid.

Coaching, on the other hand, can be hired or found through a company or organization. The focus is specific and narrow.

3. Tools

In an orientation, you can write a mentor contract, but there probably won't be clear or specific tools used to guide your mentor-mentee relationship.

In coaching, there are clearly defined contracts and expectations and performance factors.


You should now have all the information you need on Coach vs Mentor to help you make the right decision. Both coaches and mentors are there to help you succeed, but they have different methods. It is up to you to know which one works best for you.

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