I've been talking A LOT recently about Coaching and Mentoring over on my YouTube channel. I've had some great feedback on my recent videos about these topics, but I've had a few questions from clients recently about 'what's the difference between coaching and mentoring?' So here it is.
Not sure of the difference between mentorship and coaching? But do you suspect you’d get further if you understood the difference - and how each could fast track your career?
Today, we’re talking about the difference between coaching and mentoring.
What is Coaching?
For me, coaching is all about being an outsider who helps people get strategic about their careers.
It’s about asking the right questions, helping clients find their own answers and get clearer on what they want and then helping them brainstorm about what it will take to reach those goals. Simply put, I just want to make sure my clients get there faster and with fewer mistakes. There are more formal definitions of coaching, and if you google ‘coaching definition’ you’ll be welcome to half a million pages. But in the 2500 hours of coaching I’ve done mostly with women who work in male dominated fields - that’s the definition that works best for my clients. It’s also about challenge - as I can help you win the race, but we need to make sure it’s a race worth winning and even competing in.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is about a person who has a specific skill helping grow someone else’s skills in that area.
Ideally, you’d have both a coach and a mentor - and with the coaching clients I work with - we ensure you get a range of mentors in the very skills you need to build. So for example, we may work on developing your relationships with people who seem to be great at presentations, or have a technical skill you’d to develop or simply have led teams with a style you’d like to emulate. In the programmes run for companies to get more women into senior leadership, we are very careful in the way we pair mentors and mentees as you need to be focused on what the mentee wants to learn - but also how to ensure it also benefits the mentor. That’s the only way the relationship will grow long after the programme is officially finished. But the good news? You don’t need a formal mentoring programme to approach people yourself - more tips of which you can get on our download.
As you can see coaching vs. mentoring roles ARE different, but BOTH vital for getting you the career you want.
I’ve created 5 Mentoring Tips for Beginners that is the best way to introduce mentoring into your day-to-day working life I’ve given this advice to 100s of clients, and it’s the easiest way to start.
I’ve got a whole playlist dedicated to the Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring on my YouTube channel, please have a browse and let me know what you think.
Find out exactly how to approach a mentor. The video covers the questions to ask a mentor when you approach mentors at work. I’m a true advocate for men mentoring women - especially in male-dominated fields. I’m Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris, founder of inclusiq. I’ve spent 15 years working with ambitious women and mentoring definitely helps them succeed! I’m going to explain how to ask for mentorship when you’re a woman talking to a man. Follow the advice, and you’re sure to get a mentor.
GET A MENTOR IN 5 STEPS: http://bit.ly/mentor5steps
MENTORING IN THE WORKPLACE FOR WOMEN // If you’re looking for advice on mentoring in the workplace, in this video, Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris talks you through the power of mentoring at work. Mentorship in the workplace has great advantages, and getting a mentor can give you the career advancement you deserve.
In today’s video about mentoring in the workplace, we’re focused on male mentors for female mentees. The sad truth is, professional women who have male mentors actually get more promotions and earn more money than those without.
But let’s be clear, this isn’t because men are better mentors, it’s just that men tend to be more senior. So today we’re going to focus on the 3 critical reasons you need a male mentor.
INTERESTED IN COACHING?
WATCH MY EXECUTIVE COACHING VIDEO: https://youtu.be/XT_SowEykvk
Coaching in the workplace has so many advantages - both in terms of career benefits, and in terms of personal advancements. If you’re asking yourself “what is coaching?” and “How can it help career advancement?”, then you're in the right place.
First, I want to talk to you about coaching is NOT. I'll start with a story... I recently worked with one woman, Ramona, a senior associate who said:
‘I get so much well-intentioned ‘good advice’ from others, other Partners at her firm, her stay at home friends and her own husband. It’s helpful but it’s all based on what worked for those people when they tried to get various promotions, but I don’t think their answers are going to work for me.’
Ramona was right, coaching isn’t about giving advice, you have friends and even mentors for that.
Coaching is about helping you discover and then action your own advice, based on what you value, not what someone else values.
Click the link for three simple benefits of coaching that help professional women.
Coaching and mentoring ARE different. But I advocate that you need both a coach AND mentor if you want to advance your career. These benefits are especially useful for women working in a male-dominated field, but are relevant to everyone looking to advance their careers.
First thing’s first. Let’s start with the benefits of mentoring in the workplace.
1. Internal advocacy
In the Mentoring for Women programmes I run for companies, one of the biggest benefits is the advocacy mentees eventually get from their mentors. If managed well, the mentors will go behind closed doors to actively advocate for their mentees. This is vital for getting ahead, and a really important reason you need internal senior mentors, which I help all of my clients find.
2. Wider perspective
Because a mentor is likely experienced in areas you aren’t yet, they can widen your eyes to possibilities you wouldn’t normally consider - like a new team in your current organisation, or turning from one side of a transaction to another, like in finance going from buy-to-sell side. As part of that type of career mentoring, they may even help you identify which parts of your sector are growing fastest - as rapidly expanding teams are always looking for good people.
3. Fewer career mistakes
A mentor is usually someone who’s in your sector, maybe even done you job - someone whose been there done that and can help you avoid hard mistakes. While this is great for anyone, this inside track is vital for professional women in particular, and a key part of the work I do as a part of my online career coaching. So if all of that comes from a mentor - what’s the use of an executive coach? Well, for most of my clients - it’s often the one time all month they get to strategically think about where are headed and how to get there faster and with more options. But I’d say the real benefits of coaching in the workplace boil down to these 3 things.
It’s 6:30am and raining - do you know how you’re more likely to drag yourself out of bed to go to the gym if a friend is meeting you? Well, while none of our online coaching sessions will take place at 6:30, I’m like that ‘career friend’ - the person who holds you accountable. So while coaches brainstorm throughout a coaching session as to the activities you’ll do between now and your next session, a coach will say in that next session - ‘how’d you get on with your homework’? Coaches help keep your actions on track because good intentions alone don’t make for a kick-ass career.
2. External perspective
Executive coaches like me, aren’t wedded to you staying with a particular employer or even a particular sector. Coaches help you look wider, across sectors, potentially even to current clients or competitors. Because of the range of companies I’ve worked with - I share observations with my clients based on what I’ve seen in other employers, so you don’t have any more of those ‘Is this just me?’ doubts.
3. Objective outsider
You probably have a lot of friends, and if you’re lucky someone in your family you can take issues home to - but the people who love us also have their own ideas of ‘what’s best for us’. Because coaches have got no skin in your game, they’re less wedded to any one plan of action - other than the one you want to pursue. I certainly challenge my clients to ensure it is the right path for them, but I don’t try to encourage or dissuade them based on what’s best for me.
So now, you can see why coaching and mentoring are different, but both vital for getting you the career you want. Ideally, you’d have both - and with the people I work with - we ensure you get a range of mentors in the very skills you need to build.
If you want to find out more about coaching and mentoring, I’ve got a whole playlist dedicated to the Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring on YouTube.
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data