It is fair to say that no leader, however successful, is perfect at what they do. In the business world, these small attributes can make a huge difference to the way that the team and clients interact with the leader on a daily basis.
As such, the world of professional development is growing and an increasing number of leaders are considering improving the way they handle certain situations. If you are in this position, you have an important decision to make – would you rather be mentored or coached?
What is the difference between a mentor and a coach?
While these two terms are used interchangeably, their meanings are slightly different.
According to CEO Center For Coaching & Mentoring Matt M Starcevich, mentors focus on the CEO as a whole – analysing their career potential and facilitating individual growth.
Coaches, on the other hand, are mainly focused on the end result and performance, rather than the journey that the individual has taken to get there.
Mr Starcevich summed these differences up in article describing a mentor as being ‘biased in your favour’, while coaches want an improvement in a given behaviour.
‘A mentor is like a sounding board, they can give advice but the partners are free to pick and choose what they do,’ he said.
‘A coach is trying to direct a person to some end result, the person may choose how to get there, but the coach is strategically assessing and monitoring the progress and giving advice for effectiveness and efficiency.’
The value of mentoring
The argument that mentoring is one up from business coaching was further highlighted in a recently released study.
In The Internet Marketing Association’s (IMA) Empowering the Next Generation through Mentorship and Inspiration, it was revealed that mentoring can play a positive role in development.
The majority of the respondents were business professionals in their 30s or 40s and explained how mentoring helped them in a number of areas including business ethics, clear communication and persistence.
IMA Chairman Sinan Kanatsiz explained that those who get mentored are often more willing to give this information back to others.
‘Mentoring has long been recognised as an essential relationship that leads to long-term success, both professionally and personally,’ he said.
‘The key is to be an active participant throughout life to maximise its benefits and to pass those benefits along to others.’