Coaching and Mentoring Differences

Coaching and mentoring are similar, but involve different skills and a different approach.  In general mentoring is a long term relationship while coaching is short term and focuses on tasks and training.

Leading associations such as the CIPD and AHRI define coaching and mentoring separately, for you own business it is important to understand the differences before you take the step of getting help from a coach or mentor for your business.

Regardless of the industry you are in (be it a tradie, engineer or other) you are an expert in your trade, but not a business expert.

You are reading this information because to build and grow your business efficiently you know you should seek outside help.

But where do you start, and what type of help do you need?

We frequently have people asking, "what is the difference between a coach and a mentor?", it's actually not something most people know so don't worry if you don't, read on and we will clear up the differences for you.

Coaching vs Mentoring Compared

This table outlines some of the differences between a coach and mentor when applied to your business. 

What you gainYou will improve your business skills, learn to deal with business issues and run your businesses more effectively.You will improve your business strategy and long term business plans, while gaining an expert to discuss ideas, formulate goals and work through challenges.
Focuses onA coach will create a plan of action to sort out your business issues, and while fixing those issues the coach will help you learn to fix them yourself in the future.A mentor will help with identifying problems with the business and potential strategies for improving the business.
LengthShort to medium term, depending on the areas of improvement you need in your business and your current level of business skills.Long term, as your business will constantly evolve and grow a mentor is in it for the long haul not only to provide suggestions and help with strategies, but as sounding board for your ideas and struggles.

The Business Coach

When you think of a coach your mind immediately jumps to sports, and for good reason.  A coach helps you improve your skills and your performance related to a specific set of tasks.

The coaching process

Coaching is usually very structured and helps you improve your ability to deal with specific situations.  

The coaching process involves asking questions about your business and your abilities, and from there creating an agenda focusing on achieving specific (and usually immediate) goals.  While a coach doesn't necessarily need experience in your field it does depend on your goals - a coach that knows about your industry is almost always more beneficial to you.

Coaching benefits

Putting this into the perspective of coaching in your business, the coach helps you improve your ability to do business tasks and understand them.  It's important for the coach to be familiar with your type of business and that they know how to fix the issues your business is facing.

The amount of coaching you need depends on your current skills and the challenges you are trying to overcome. In some ways having a business coach is like doing a business course that is tailored specifically to you and your business - once you have completed the coaching you will have a new set of skills.

The Business Mentor

A mentor is there as an advisor who you can discuss ideas with and assess the viability of those ideas.  Having the experience of a mentor can save you from wasting time or money on a strategy, or help you realise a different approach to achieve something. While usually focused on your business, mentors are also there to help discuss your life goals and how they interact with your business goals.

While counselling is not the primary role of a business mentor, they do share some similarities as they both have a broader focus when compared to coaching.

The mentoring process

Mentoring process models can vary and be adapted to your business, workplace and lifestyle.

Discussing your situations and plans will help you determine what you actually want for your business and what is achievable, some professionals offer mentorship and entrepreneurship programs to help you along the way.

Based on the discussions with your mentor they will provide advice and share knowledge based on their past experience, so it's important to choose a mentor that is familiar with your industry.

Mentoring benefits

Mentoring often turns into a long term business relationship and allows you to address both professional and personal aspects of your business.  This helps you work your way towards the business lifestyle that you ultimately want.

Combined Coach & Mentor

Some professionals do offer both coaching and mentoring.  While useful on their own, having someone that is both a coach and mentor help with your business will get you the best results.

The mentor side will ensure that your goals are setup correctly and align with what you want from the business, and the coaching side will help you achieve those goals.

While this extremely beneficial to any business, the combined approach works extremely well for trade businesses as tradesman frequently need help with both immediate issues (such as cash flow problems), long term business strategies and putting this all together around the lifestyle goals they aim to achieve.

What's Next?

There is no doubt that your business will benefit from mentoring and coaching, but how do you proceed?

At Tradie Accelerator our training programs combine both coaching and mentoring to get the best results, so feel free to contact us from our contact page or if your prefer to talk to one of our consultants call 1300 658 403.

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If you are serious about improving and growing your business, call and talk directly to a mentor to see if we can help.

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