The Differences Between a Coach and a Mentor

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Coaching and mentoring are both important roles in a person's life. Many people need guidance and help to achieve a certain goal they are trying to accomplish, making a mentor and/or coach a helpful part of his or her life. Coaching and mentoring are different, though they are thought to be the same.


According to Eric Parsloe, Director of the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring and author of several books on maximizing individual performance, "coaching is a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be a successful coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills, and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place." Coaching is giving someone advice and/or guidance to help him or her achieve a particular goal. Coaching is an important job that helps the community and others. A person that is being coached has to listen and do as the coach says, not having a choice as to whether the person wants to listen or do as told.


According to Clutterbuck and Megginson, authors of the book, "Mentoring in Action" (1995), "mentoring is off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work, or thinking." A mentor is someone who another person looks up to for guidance and advice to help make important decisions. When a person decides to have a mentor, it is more than likely because the person thinks the mentor has advice he or she could use, helping the person to better himself/herself. A mentor can offer advice, but the person who chose the mentor does not have to listen to or take the advice if he or she does not choose.


Coaching and mentoring are similar in many ways, which is why they can easily be confused. Both coaches and mentors give advice and guidance and help to lead someone in the direction of success.