How To Be A Successful Mentor And Coach


How To Be A Successful Mentor And Coach

Mentoring and Coaching Are Similar But Not The Same

Coaching and mentoring both have the same objective – to guide and help others grow, develop and reach their full potential. In either case, the beneficiary is guided to be able to take decisions and make choices that will inure to his/her own personal development.

Though coaching and mentoring are similar, they are not the same. In most cases, they are grouped together or interchanged. However, they are slightly different. Think of coaching as a structured defined way of guiding someone for a clear period of time to achieve specific goals. On the other hand, think of mentoring as a more relaxed way of guiding someone, in a not-so-structured way, but in a directional manner to help the person navigate through life.

Though mentoring is not structured, one cannot really succeed in mentoring if coaching is not adopted alongside the mentorship. This is because, coaching elicits responsibility and discipline from the mentee, much more than a relaxed mentoring strategy.


A coach is not obligated to discuss anything personal. In fact, they’re likely to have no experience in the industry or role that their client works in. This is a key difference between coaching and mentoring. Mentors draw on their experience knowledge where as coaches draw on their technical know-how.


1. Mentoring-and-Coaching- Difference


Wanna Be A TTCJN Mentor?

overview_1_mentoringIf you desire to become a mentor for TTCJN Telescopes (trainees), then it means that you have to understand your role as a mentor and how you are supposed to also play the role of a coach. Note that you will be dealing with students who are now entering adulthood and have yet to experience the ethics of work. They have little to no experience about work but are seeking to be guided and assisted.

As youths, peer-pressure is something that resonates well with them. Hence, you have to become their friend so that they will feel more relaxed approaching and relating to you.

As their mentor and coach, they will be looking up to you with great respect and admiration and would expect to get the guidance and direction they so desire. You will have to mentor them in their career ambitions, as well as their personal lives.



Those who choose to mentor others find their jobs more meaningful and less stressful than those who do not do so. Mentors have also been found to be more likely to get a promotion.



Who Is A Career Mentor?

A career mentor is someone who can guide, advise, and support a mentee to be the best he/she can be in his/her career. The mentor takes time to understand the mentee, get to know the way the mentee works, and the challenges the mentee is facing, and then advises the mentee based on his (the mentor) understanding and personal experience to help the mentee improve.

The benefits mentoring can have include increasing confidence, communication skills, aspiration, and exposure to new perspectives. As a result, those with mentors are more likely to feel motivated and progress well in their careers.

While good mentors will bring elements of coaching into their sessions, the key elements of mentoring are different to coaching.


Key Elements of Mentoring

  • Long Term

Mentoring relationships have the potential to last a lifetime if they result in friendship. Even if you initially get a mentor to support with a specific goal, once you have that connection with someone, you may reach out to them again in the future. Mentoring tends to be longer term than coaching partnerships due to its personal and informal nature.


  • Voluntary

Typically, mentoring is voluntary. Whether the mentoring takes place informally through personal networks, or formally through a company mentoring program, there is rarely an expectation of payment for the mentor’s time. Both parties are dedicated to the personal development of the mentee, and the process is also highly rewarding for the mentor.


  • Advice & Guidance

The role of a mentor is to listen, learn, and advise. It is about pointing their mentee in the right direction, and aiding their career development. The difference between coaching and mentoring in this regard, is that, mentoring is a softer and more relationship-focused form of guidance, as opposed to the structured training approach coaching takes. 


  • Mentee Drives The Sessions

With mentoring, the mentee is responsible for driving the sessions and steering the relationships. A common misconception is that, a mentor will tell you exactly what to do and shape you into a more successful person, but the truth is quite the opposite. A mentee must be dedicated to their own development, and utilise their mentor to help them achieve their goals.


  • Mentor Advises Based On Personal Experience

Due to the personal nature of mentoring, a mentor will more often than not, draw on his personal experiences and expertise to help his mentee. This could be in the form of sharing a story that taught him a valuable lesson, or a challenge he overcame in his career.



How To Be A Successful Mentor

Mentorship is a great experience and very fulfilling and rewarding to experience. The feeling of seeing someone who looked up to you for guidance and direction, become successful in life, is very heartwarming. However, mentorship is not just about having a desire to help the upcoming generation. It requires some level of commitment and a mindset to see to the realization of your mentee’s dream.

To be a successful mentor, you need to take note of a few things.


  1. Understand That Your Mentee Is Different From You

Yes, the reason you’ve been asked to mentor is because you have these amazing achievements and habits that are acknowledged and appreciated. But when you are mentoring someone, the idea is not to create another you, it’s to identify their strengths and guide them to their own achievements. Share your experiences and your approach to problems, but don’t force it onto your mentee, let him/her approach his/her career in a way that’s best suited to his/her situation and personality.


  1. Acknowledge That It’s A Two-Way Relationship

There are going to opportunities for you to learn from your mentee, too. They can be in the form of the latest in social media trends, the next best thing in the world of technology or entertainment or even a new curriculum being followed in school. Approach the relationship as a mutually benefiting one, and seize the opportunities to learn. This will also help build confidence in your mentee that you are interested in what she has to share, too.


  1. Commit To The Relationship

If you promise your mentee that you have decided to be there for him/her, you have to make sure that you are there for the person as much as possible. It’s just about being technical about the mentoring by following a strict schedule, filling out forms and tracking discussions only.

The mentoring relationship goes way beyond the details. You are committing to help your mentee when they need your help. So make the effort to be his/her advocate and help him/her with his/her goals. This could mean connecting the person to your business contacts, sharing resources, etc. This also means that you should prepare well before your meetings; that is if you schedule meetings with your mentees.


  1. Be Somebody They Can Look Up To

Create positive behavioral experiences with your mentee. Share how approaching different situations with the right attitude can lead to success. Your mentee will look up to you for guidance and these experiences count in shaping how they will approach their work and long term career.


  1. Be Available And Genuinely Interested

This does not mean just showing up on time. It means being in the moment, listening, and understanding your mentee and his/her situation. Practice active listening, and be empathetic toward his/her situation such that, the person is able to understand that you are genuinely interested in helping him/her to succeed. Be non-judgmental and offer advice when you really see the need. It’s often best to help your mentee figure it out himself or herself, but in certain situations, the person would really benefit from your counsel, and being available makes that happen.


Now Let’s Look At Coaching

Who Is A Career Coach?

A coach is someone who can up-skill and train you in specific development areas. They may identify and prioritise improvement areas, break down your end goal into smaller goals, and work with you to shape and grow your mindset.

Career coaches can help you to understand yourself better, train your brain, and equip you with the skills needed to handle future challenges and situations.

Compared with mentoring, coaching is typically more structured and tailored to specific outcomes, as opposed to general personal development. This more formal structure is also a result of coaches charging for their services, unlike mentors.

Here are some of the key elements of coaching that differ from mentoring.

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Key Elements of Coaching

  • Short term

Coaching partnerships are more short term than mentoring relationships, due to the fact that they are objective driven and more structured. Someone may seek out a coach to help him/her develop a specific skill, and the coaching would end once that skill has been acquired.

  • Training & Up-skilling

As opposed to advising and guiding, coaching focuses more on training and upskilling to help you develop a winning mindset. A coach can help increase your self-awareness – identifying areas for improvement, and challenging assumptions that may be preventing you from achieving your goals. Coaching is often used for the development of leadership skills, where they may train you in the art of questioning to equip you to manage others better.

  • A Coach Drives The Sessions

Unlike in a mentoring dynamic, a coach is more likely to drive the sessions than the client. While the client will naturally have input and is taking responsibility for their development by undergoing coaching, there is less expectation on him/her to run the meetings.

  • A Coach Does Not Necessarily Discuss Personal Experience

A coach is not obligated to discuss anything personal. In fact, they’re likely to have no experience in the industry or role that their client works in. This is a key difference between coaching and mentoring. where mentors would draw on their experience and knowledge.




5. development-styles

As you can see, from the above lists, coaching and mentoring are not the same thing. However, they’re also not worlds apart. Both coaching and mentoring are methods of developing individuals, and they hold similar values at their core.

“It is a journey where the process of learning is as important as the knowledge and skills gained” (Zeus and Skiffington, 2000)

In both mentoring and coaching, there is:

  • Trust between both parties.
  • A desire to develop.
  • Knowledge sharing.
  • Discussion of goals.
  • Exposure to new ways of thinking.
  • Skill development.
  • Focus on career progression.
  • The unlocking of someone’s potential.

And so the relationships are underpinned by many similar principles.

Once you understand the similarities and differences between coaching and mentoring, you can see how they are able to complement each other as development practices.

For example, as an organisation, you may want to foster a culture of people-focused personal development and thus, decide to implement a companywide mentoring program. Yet, you may also want to provide a more specific leadership training option to your managers in addition to coaching sessions.

The effect of this two-pronged approach to coaching and mentoring is highly valuable. Those managers who have undergone coaching will make very good mentors to other individuals in your organisation.

When you bear in mind that 89% of mentees go on to be mentors, you create a ripple effect culture of learning and development within your organisation that has people at its core.

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