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Career Climb: What works mentorship versus coaching

Mentoring and coaching sound like similar concepts there’s a very big difference.While deciphering the differences between coaching and mentoring, the basis of the relationship and the expected results are a great indicator of what is better for all parties involved.

Mentoring is aimed at helping and supporting people to manage their own life in a bid to achieve life goals, improve performance, develop new coping skills and maximize their potential. A mentor aims at creating a long-term relationship with the mentee, build a climate of trust and surrounding in which the mentee can freely and securely share the issues that impact one’s profession.

Coaching, on the other hand, is a collaborative, result-oriented and methodical practice in which the trainer/coach facilitates the enhancement of work/life experience and personal growth of the coachee.

Under what circumstances would one choose a mentor as opposed to a coach and vice versa?
1. The purpose of the relationship

While making this decision, it is vital that one reflects on the outcomes they hope for. Ask yourself, “Do I seek career development or task improvement?” Before making that choice, carefully consider what you wish to achieve. Do you want to improve your skills and knowledge about a certain discipline? Do you aim at developing your life-long career? Going for a mentor when your aim is to fully grow your career is the best option.

A coach has expertise and experience about a particular discipline. He/she will be appropriate if your target is to gain extra concrete skills such as effective management, strategic thinking.

2. Time factor
Mentorship is a lasting process. You can’t say you were mentored by someone for one, five or ten years. The work environment is always changing, new ideas are coming up daily. What you learned last year isn’t what you will learn in the next five years.
Mentors are sought when the mentees’ objectives are long-term that require a long-lasting rapport is to be established. Alternatively, coaching lasts for the a stipulated time. Once you’ve acquired the new technique, you’ll be done with your coach.

It is important to appreciate that mentor and coach both have experience and expertise in their areas of specialization. A good mentor or coach will assist you to set measurable goals, share personal experiences that will eventually inspire and motivate you.

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