Mentoring vs business coaching: What’s the difference?

 Mentorship and business coaching are often confused because both involve a one-on-one experience between a mentor and mentoree to overcome challenges.

However, the truth is that they are completely separate practices that serve different purposes.


How does business coaching work?

Business coaching is task orientated and short term. There is a focus on solving targeted issues, such as, a desire to manage more effectively, more effective speaking, or learning how to think along the lines of a certain business strategy. The skills coaching lasts for a specific period of time, perhaps only a few sessions, where the issue in question is solved.

What is a mentoring relationship like?

Conversely, mentorship is designed to be a long-term working relationship with a view to passing on knowledge and developing business direction. Although specific learning goals or skills may be used as a means of forming the relationship, the intention extends beyond these areas. The mentor also provides a safe outlet to deal with the personal side of business by investing interest into the issues preventing the entrepreneur from developing their business and personal achievements. These could be anything from, clarifying the work-life balance, to self-confidence, goal identification, structural or financial planning, or dealing with self perception and public presentation.

Mentoring is therefore more of a mutual and involved experience and less of a training service than business coaching. This makes the process more abstract and free but means that, unlike coaching, mentorship requires a design phase to determine the strategic purposes.

Perhaps for these reasons, coaching is most employed within corporations who want to train employees to acquire specific job performance skills that would aid their work. The coach’s role is simply to tutor the skill, the relationship is clear, and then the use of the coach is fulfilled.

Where can I find a mentor or how do I become one?

Rare Birds has launched a mentorship program that is designed to match start-out entrepreneurs with experienced professionals who want to use their industry experience to develop potential and provide opportunities, particularly to women.

The mentorship process provides the personal treatment in creating access and selecting relevant mentors for the mentoree in question. The concept being that over a period of 12 months the two will meet face to face for a minimum of four hours a month that will lead both on a beneficial entrepreneurial journey. In other words, a mentorship develops the entrepreneur and consequently maintaining professional standards in the business world as a whole, not just the company in question.

Do you need a mentor to help you in your business right now? Join the Rare Birds Mentoring Program and you will be matched with a entrepreneur from the Rare Birds global community. You can also contact our Community Leader, Sarah Coull for more information about the program:


Related articles:

5 ways a mentor can help you overcome hurdles
7 Dos And Don’ts Of A Mentoring Relationship

21 Entrepreneurial Tips For Making It Big

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  1. The definition of Coaching is not complete in that it focuses on one aspect only. It lacks clarity of what the profession is recognised globally for. Trained coaches facilitate thinking that creates performance in any area.
    A trained business coach will be able to progress the business and the person. Trained coaches are using a range of skills based on an understanding of how the brain works and therefore how humans create performance. They will also be able to add a range of resources from their own skill and experience.
    It is globally proven as the most effective performance tool available.
    It can be for a short term or a longer term. The term is dictated by the focus.

    Mentoring by contrast is informal and based on experience and skill.

    Both mentoring and coaching are integral to success but for women it can be hard to extract ourselves from mentoring relationships that may no longer be serving us.

    My feeling based on working with thousands of women (and my own personal experience) is that multiple mentors serves us better – particularly at the early stages. We have so much to learn and one person won’t have it all.

    Having said that, it’s amazing to have one person who believes in you, if they are the right person ( = passion for you and your vision + relevant skills and experience + proven integrity track record + time to add to you).

    The very best/ most effective mentoring relationships (i.e. that work for both mentor and mentee) are structured so you know the term you’ll work togehter, what you’re going to focus on and when you will do that). ps. mentees buy the coffee 🙂

    Go for it woman!

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