November 25, 2019

What is Mentoring

Over the next several blogs we will dive into the concept of mentoring, but more specifically its role in business.  The first part is to gain a basic understanding of this topic and how it differs from coaching.

Mentoring takes a variety of shapes and forms.  It happens at all levels and stages of your personal and professional life.  The University of Cambridge defines the concept as “a system of semi-structured guidance whereby one person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers”.  Coaching and mentoring are often used interchangeably, but the two concepts are different.

Coaching/Mentoring Differences

These two concepts present opportunities to grow and develop others.  However, they differ in a few respects.  Mentoring is considered a long-term process based on an ongoing relationship, whereas coaching is a short-term relationship.  The coaching relationship is more structured and doesn’t require firsthand experience of the mentee’s line of work.  Mentoring, in contrast, is a more informal relationship in which the mentor has experience in the mentee’s line of work.  Finally, coaching’s main objective is to improve performance in immediate.  Mentoring’s primary objective is to develop short and long-term skills over time.

When to Use Coaching

Understanding when to use coaching rather than mentoring is just as important.  While both concepts are central to the investment in the individual, it is important to use the right concept to achieve the desired outcome.  Below are four objectives of coaching.

  1. Develop raw talent with a specific new skill
  2. Enhance the experienced professional with a new or refreshed skill
  3. Help individuals who are not meeting expectations or goals
  4. Improve behavior in a short period of time, like coaching an executive to address the media on a specific topic

When to Use Mentoring

As you can see, coaching objectives are short-term and very specific.  Below are four objectives of mentoring.  These objectives are long-term focused and broad.

  1. Motivate talented professionals to focus on their career/life development
  2. Inspire individuals to see what is possible in their career/life
  3. Enhance the professional’s leadership development
  4. Transfer knowledge from senior to junior professionals

Our next blog will continue to investigate mentoring and its role in business and how you can develop a plan to invest long-term in your team and organization.  In the meantime, allow our experienced  team to serve as your business mentor and build a long-term future for you and your organization.  As always, we are looking forward to meeting you.


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