Mentoring vs. Coaching: Which approach is the best for me?

by AIPC| May 17, 2019 | Blog |

Read this article and know the difference Between Mentoring and Coaching and How They Can Help you Succeed.

Behind every person’s success is a boatload of hard work and perseverance. However, what fuels a person to work hard and persevere is the support and help they get from the people they love and from the people who understand and have tread on the journey they are taking. This kind of support can also be found in coaching and mentoring.


In many organisations and to many employees’ minds, the terms coaching and mentoring are used interchangeably. However, these two activities are not the same nor are they related to other organisational activities such as counselling, supervision or training.

Continue reading through this article to know the difference between coaching and mentoring, how they can help you succeed and which between the two approach is best for you.

What is mentoring?

A mentoring relationship is based on the sharing of knowledge and professional experience to deepen understanding and improve effectiveness. The relationship is hierarchical and sometimes paternalistic, rather than collaborative. The mentor is often a senior role model that who has extensive skills and experiences to share with the mentee, who is the recipient of this wisdom. He/ She may or may not be an expert on the mentee’s line of work, but he/she knows the organisation in general well and can navigate the ‘political’ climate to promote career progression.

What is coaching?

Coaching is a collaborative relationship based on equalised power. Coaches bring skills of active and reflective listening, powerful questioning and summarising to the table; clients bring knowledge of their own situation and issues. No one is right nor wrong. Coach and client work together to achieve an outcome that promotes the client’s well-being and productivity. The coaching conversation is focused on expanding the client’s awareness of self and others, encouraging insight and discovery, and taking actions for which the client is responsible and accountable. Coaches assist clients to discover what they really want and need in life and work. They explore with clients the “unexplored” – the world of possibilities. During this process, clients discover their true self, what motivates them, what causes them conflict and concern. Coaches work with clients to envision their best possible future, then goal set and action plan with them to achieve the desired outcomes, revisiting their goals throughout the process. Coaching is also about provoking action to address specific issues such as interpersonal and communication difficulties, stress-related anxiety and conflicting priorities. Coaching is used by organisations to extend knowledge, achieve specified goals and develop opportunities for all employees.

How is coaching different from mentoring?

While coaching and mentoring may both promote personal as well as professional growth, mentoring usually involves an ongoing professional relationship within the same organisation whereas coaching is focused on specific performance issues or events and may be delivered by coaches external to the organisation. Coaching focuses on helping the coachee acquire and learn the necessary attitude and skills needed for the completion of a certain task while mentoring focuses on the mentee and his general work life, not just on a specific task. Mentoring may also be best when you’re just starting to build your organisation for the reason that a mentor can easily respond to basic concerns and can offer advises that worked for him/her when he/she was just starting with his organisation too. On the other hand, coaching may work best when your organisation already matures because there are issues that the a coach can point out and work on strategies that a mentor may have oversee.

Both coaching and mentoring can help your organisation succeed. You just have to identify first what you need and want for your organisation then decide what’s best it.

If you want to incorporate coaching into your organisation and become a professional coach yourself, you can contact the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches 1 300 309 306 or email us at careers@professionalcoachtraining.com.au . We look forward to speaking with you soon.