Often people wonder, Do I want a coach, or, do I want a mentor? Understanding the difference is essential for making this call. A mentor is someone who has experience and wisdom that they pass on. They are there to give advice. A mentor is valuable when you want new information. Alternatively, a coach is a strategic partner that empowers you to explore and discover your own answer. A coach is valuable when you are ready for an advanced level of development and to create meaningful change.
A mentor is someone you have a long-term relationship with in your life. How much time you have with them ebbs and flows. In the workplace mentors are often assigned or cultivated to help learn about the organization and the job role. In life a mentor is cultivated because you respect them and want their advice.
A coach is a professional service provider that has completed coach training and ideally coaching certification so that they hone their coaching competencies and know the ethics of their role. The coach sees you as your own best expert. A coach listens deeply and asks questions. In the coaching process you explore possibilities and opportunities, consider challenges, develop strategies, and plan your actions. A coaching relationship lasts one year on average – it continues as long as it benefits you so sometimes it is shorter and sometimes longer. Most importantly: the number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship is the rapport between the coach and client. This means work with a coach you trust.