There are some mentoring myths we encounter day in and day out as we guide our clients on their mentoring journey. This is the fourth in a series of posts on mentoring myths. Watch as we bust this myth wide open as we have done with the first three!
Mentoring Myth: Mentoring and coaching are essentially the same thing
BUSTED: It's the myth that just won't die. While we can understand why people still think mentoring and coaching are similar, it's important for everyone to accept the fact they are two different things. Each one is worthy of consideration in the workplace, but mentoring and coaching are still different nonetheless.
Let's talk about two key differentiators.
Coaching is task oriented. The focus is on concrete issues, such as managing more effectively, speaking more articulately, or learning how to think strategically. This requires a content expert (coach) who is capable of teaching the coachee how to develop these skills.
Mentoring is relationship oriented. It seeks to provide a safe environment where the mentoree shares whatever issues affect his or her professional and personal success. Although specific learning goals or competencies may be used as a basis for creating the relationship, the relationship's focus goes beyond these areas to include things such as work/life balance, self-confidence, self-perception, and how the personal influences the professional.
Coaching is short term. A coach can successfully be involved with a coachee for a short period, maybe even just a few sessions. The coaching lasts for as long as it's needed, depending on the purpose of the coaching relationship.
Mentoring is always long term. Mentoring, to be successful, requires time in which both partners can learn about one another and build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentoree can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her success. Successful mentoring relationships *typically* last nine months to a year, but you'll see why we put asterisks around the word "typically" when you get to the last myth below.
For even further reading on this mentoring myth, we've compiled 23 additional differentiators in our free white paper: Coaching vs. Mentoring, which you can download right now.
Also, if you want to get this myth plus five more in one handy package that you can easily access and share with others, then download our complete white paper: 6 Mentoring Myths Busted.