Monday, June 13, 2011

Mentor VS Coach

Here is another question I get asked..."what is the difference between a mentor and a coach"?  And that question leads to this one:  "why do you have one of each"?

To me, a mentor is specifically focused on the work or job at hand and has experiences that you may want or will be going through soon.  They point out opportunities for development, provide feedback about perceived strengths, gives organizational information - structure, culture, politics etc., advises on how to deal with roadblocks - perceived or otherwise, points out development opportunities.  This is a more directive conversation from a role model, who sees the individual in action.

Working with a coach is a collaborative relationship.  While the subject matter may overlap with that of a mentor, with a coach, the discussion is to coach the individual to find their own next steps and work through their own actions as they relate to their goals. The coach most likely will never see the individual in action - at work or otherwise.

Now, why do I have both?  Looking at my mentor, who has been a fabulous woman in business for over 15 years, I want to operate a business that is as successful as hers. (See it here - Blazing - THE Agency).  She is open, honest and we relate well to each other.  She has gone through the transitions I am experiencing and her sharing and feedback helped me to look at my business and make changes in anticipation of what could come next.  While we see each other less often now than when I started my business, I know that we have developed a solid relationship and that she will always be there for me.

I have coaches that help me with moving my business forward.  One for social media - because I need to learn too...and I check in with them periodically now.  One for marketing copy - this coach is a coach in development, so we share a great deal and her talent at selecting the right words is incredible!  And I need these people in my life - the solo-preneur life can be lonely if you don't reach out to others who have what you need.  The capacity for sharing is wonderful. 

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