Mentoring Versus Coaching: There IS a Difference

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Connie Ragen Green — Mentoring Versus Coaching: There IS a Difference

Life is complicated. Navigating the waters on your own may be admirable on some level, but you do not need to go it alone. In fact, all studies lead to the conclusion that the mentored life is preferable. The flip side of this coin is mentoring others, in both your personal and professional life. Allow me to explain how this works, the difference between mentoring versus coaching, and how you can make a difference in someone’s life by taking on the role of mentor.

While I was growing up I had a close friend we called Tory. His given name was “Mentor” and that is when I learned the meaning of that word is “teacher.” Tory taught me much about horticulture and caring for animals, but other than that connection I did not give another thought to mentoring until I was in my late twenties.

At that time I had passed the California real estate salesperson exam and was ready to begin my career as a sales associate in a large firm down in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles. If you’ve ever heard the saying “Here’s your desk, there’s the phone, lots of luck, you’re on your own” then you can imagine what it was like for me. If it hadn’t been for a man named Leonard who took me under his wing and mentored me during my first year I would not have stayed in real estate for what has added up to over three decades now. His patience and uncanny knack for anticipating situations based on his own experiences helped me to achieve my goals and even move beyond them.

Mentoring works in both directions. The more experienced, and many times older person guides the mentee towards success, one conversation and transaction at a time. The mentor benefits from the questions he or she is asked and the fresh outlook brought to the table. Many mentors experience a variety of feelings and emotions such as having a new lease on life, the joy of helping someone that reminds them of themselves when they were younger or newer to a profession, and being invigorated to the point of starting a new venture in an area they haven’t worked in for several decades due to this positive shift in attitude.

There is also a significant difference between mentoring and coaching. I prefer to use the term mentoring for what I do with others. Here is a definition that expresses this idea well:

Coaching is performance driven. The purpose of coaching is to improve the individual’s performance on the job. This involves either enhancing current skills or acquiring new skills. Once the coachee successfully acquires the skills, the coach is no longer needed.

Mentoring is development driven. Its purpose is to develop the individual not only for the current job, but also for the future. This distinction differentiates the role of the immediate manager and that of the mentor. It also reduces the possibility of creating conflict between the employee’s manager and the mentor.

I have mentored new entrepreneurs for a decade now. The personal satisfaction and reward is priceless. Over these ten years my focus has shifted from initially helping them only with the business part to now becoming a trusted guide and advisor in their personal relationships, health, and legacy planning. Never forgetting that a mentor is a teacher, I seek out “teachable” moments to help my mentees come to their own conclusions.

Who is mentoring you? To whom are you a mentor? I firmly believe that we never outgrow the need for a mentor or the role as mentor for others. Reach out to someone you know in your community and ask them to meet with you to discuss their business and personal goals for the next year. If they are anxious to take you up on your offer give them the best you have to give.

A mentor is a friend, but I find it more beneficial to move past that label and on to something more sacred. A mentor is combination parent, business associate, extended family member, and trusted guide through the rivers of life. Sometimes these waters are calm and inviting while other times they are whitewater rapids that challenge us to hang on and steer for dear life. Knowing that person is always there for you, whether in your head or right in front of you can be exactly what you need to stay focused and on track.

I would love to hear your thoughts of this topic. In April of 2018 I published a book called Living the Mentored Life, where I went into great detail about how this process can and will change your life in untold ways if you embrace it fully and keep an open mind.

You deserve to be mentored as much as someone you may already know deserves to be mentored by you. The person you connect with may be your neighbor, someone in the grocery store aisle, or the person you barely talk to at church or in a service organization you are already a part of in your community. Reach out and offer to be a mentor and see what happens next.

I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to set up Funnels That Click and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.

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Online marketing strategist, author, speaker, and publisher working with entrepreneurs on six continents.

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