What is the difference between a mentor and a business coach?

I understand that it is possible to hire a business coach, but in what situations is it more appropriate to work with a mentor than with a business coach? And do some entrepreneurs work with both business coaches and mentors?


Some key differences to consider:
- Coaching is based most often on a monthly retainer. Mentoring can be as well, but is usually offered without a fee, often based on a personal request or referral.
- Coaches rarely give advice, coming from the perspective that the client has the answers within. Empowering yes, but there are times when you just want someone to give you a straight answer or share their experience. Mentors (and consultants) provide this more naturally.

I've worked with entrepreneurs who've had both, and I've done so myself. If you're looking for personal development within your business, I'd lean towards coaching. If you're more after advice and experience, I'd look for a mentor. Both are helpful and can make the world of difference in the right circumstances.

Answered 7 years ago

I like to work with a combination of the two.

Coaching is a process where the coach entices the answers from the client. It is not their job to provide the answers, that is what consultants do. Coaching allows the individual to learn how to solve complex problems on his own.

Mentors are individuals who have been there done that. They give advice, on how they have done it in the past. A good coach will tell you when they switch from coach to mentor role.

As a coach, I prefer to work with industries that I have a limited amount of experience in. This way I am not "telling" my client how to do things. I am able to get them to solve their problem, this usually comes from inquisitive type questions that coaches ask.

An example I can use is with a current client. She owns a day spa, I have very limited experience in that industry, but she is having team issues. I have experience working with complex teams. I can ask her questions about her team, but coming from a totally different perspective. In this relationship, she has seen how she made some poor hiring choices, hiring people that do not share her core values. Now we are looking at changing hiring practices.

If you would like more info, please give me a call.

Answered 7 years ago

The major difference between a coach and a mentor is the purpose that each serves.

The mentor talks and gives advice mostly on principles and underlying philosophy about doing something. Even though, he/she has an established path of success there are no similarities, only resemblances. The mentor will make you aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, as well as of some ways of dealing with them.

The coach is your accountability partner. It's the one that will push you to move forward. The coach will make look straight at your b/s and assist you in overcoming it. The coach doesn't know what lies ahead but he will join you in your journey of exploration.

If you have both of them in your team, you are well on your way to success... be aware though, not to ask from either of them something that is not appropriate - (for eg. advice from the coach and accountability from the mentor!)

Answered 7 years ago

There are many interpretations of what a mentor is and what are the responsibilities to mentor someone. I approach mentoring as connecting with professionals who are looking for help in shaping and guiding them through a career objective or a specific challenge. I do this through ongoing dialog and interaction and I expect my mentoring assignments to operate via a strict means of accountability.

As a mentor in several current engagements, I commit to an initial period of time to evaluate the extent of our working relationship, including the way in which we cooperate with each. This is the single most important quality of any mentoring arrangement. Without cooperation, we’re just going through the motions. The mentoring process demands that you genuinely care about the journey and successes, it should be important to everyone involved. How else do you justify the time and attention spent working with you?

Answered 7 years ago

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