Executive Coaching and Mentoring : Defining The Difference

Executive Coaching and MentoringPeople at all stages of their life turn to coaches and mentors for guidance. From individual to company executives. So, what exactly is the difference executive coaching and mentoring? In this article we are going to define the two. They have similarities but they also have some very marked differences. Both involve a one-on-one relationship between yourself an a professional. A trusted advisor will advise you on your career or your personal development.

For this reason executive coaching and mentoring are often confused. Both involve one on one sessions, Both involve either your personal life or career, or both. There are however some distinct differences in the methods used by these two professions. One of the most marked difference is the length of the relationship. A coaching relationship may last weeks or perhaps a month or two. A mentoring relationship can last a lifetime.

Executive Coaching and Mentoring : Your Executive Coach

A coach is someone who is equipped to address immediate problems and issues you have. These can be urgent and even critical. They are problems that have arisen quickly and not over time. They are problems that need to be fixed quickly. Near-term issues that affect your management or leadership skills can have a very negative impact on your business. Failure to address and deal with the problem quickly could lead to severe loss of earning or even the closure of your business if you don’t act quickly.

Conflict in the workplace is another area that needs to be dealt with straight away. In this instance a coach will provide sessions to you and your employees as a group as opposed to you individually. Your coach will encourage you, motivate you, and provide you with inspiration. He will kick start you back into action, making targets you need to reach and goals and objectives to achieve. When thinking about coaching, and how it differs to mentoring, think of an athletics coach. He will train his trainee for race day. This will take weeks or perhaps months, but certainly will not take years.

Executive Coaching Goals

Executive coaching experts expect results in quick time. As a maximum, you should look at six months for your coaching relationship to end. In six months you can really turn around your life or business, with near-term goals that are within your reach. You may decide to meet with your coach on a daily or a bi-weekly basis. Sessions will be structured and will take place at set times, lasting from half and hour to perhaps an hour and a half. For really intensive coaching, you can book several sessions in one week. Coaching is most effective when a one-on-one method is used, but phone or Skype coaching is also popular in the busy modern world we live in today.

Executive Coaching and MentoringMentoring

As we said before, executive coaching and mentoring have many similarities but they also have many differences. A mentor will not see you at the same specific time each day or week. There is far less urgency and far less structure to a mentoring relationship. A mentor will help and guide you  on a longer term basis, sometimes spanning a lifetime. A mentor can be a professional or it can be someone you know, where no money will change hands and sessions will be informal lunches or casual drinks. A mentoring relationship is far broader in scope than that of a coach.

A mentor will deal with a much broader spectrum. He won’t be dealing with one particular problem you have. He will look at your life as a whole and the aspects of it you wish to improve. A mentor will set goals in the same way a coach does, but they will be broader and long-range. Goals set by a executive mentor can span many years into the future.

When to Use  Mentor

A mentor is a great sounding board for your ideas and is someone who will stay alongside you for as long as is necessary. He can help you deal with professional development, career satisfaction, personal growth, life transitions, and much more. He can work on your executive presence, ensuring you are comfortable with your job role and prepared for promotion. Helping you with your management and leadership function is also high on your mentors agenda.

It is possible to find an executive coach who will double as a mentor and vice versa. But it is important to understand that a mentor and a coach are two similar but also very different things. Which service you require will depend on whether your problems are immediate or long term.


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