Coaching vs. Mentoring: what is the difference?


It’s fair to say that ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ have become buzzwords in recent years. So, what is the difference and what place have they got in today’s working world?

LHH defines coaching as a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, provides a structured and focused interaction with a learner or client (coachee), using tools and techniques to help create positive change for the benefit of the coachee and possibly for other stakeholders.

Mentoring, however, is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person via advice, opinions, strategies and policies focused on career or life advancement.

Coaching and mentoring share many similarities, but they are ultimately two completely different processes. The most common source for coaching is direct line managers, while the most common source for mentoring is peers. In addition to this, organisations are more likely to use non-direct managers as mentors than as coaches, and they are also far more likely to use external sources as coaches than as mentors.

A recent LHH survey identified the key drivers of coaching and mentoring initiatives were to preparing a pool of talent to fill future roles, to help individuals reach their potential, to create a more diverse workplace, and finally to cultivate a culture of life-long learning.

It is no coincidence that high-performing organisations are far more likely to indicate coaching and mentoring have a positive impact on organisational success. Now is the time to establish and strengthen the coaching culture within your organization by demonstrating an openness to feedback throughout the entire organization, learning from mistakes and successes, and placing intentional value on mutual trust. For more information on how to cultivate a strong coaching culture in your company, reach out to one of the LHH Gulf team members.

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