The 10 essential differences between coaching and mentoring

My coachees sometimes call me a mentor or ask me about the differences between mentoring and coaching. Both are accompanying processes that promote learning, but in very different ways.

In recent years, coaching has established itself as a tool that helps clients achieve their goals, optimize their career and life, or simply improve a skill or a specific area.

In this sense it is possible to find coaches who focus on very different areas: There are sports, nutrition, personnel or organizational coaches, to name just a few examples. They all have one thing in common. It is about helping clients and getting the most out of their potential. In addition, the decision-making ability in various aspects of the clients can and will be improved.

It is not unusual that this kind of practice is related to another, seemingly similar practice where another person with their experience guides us to help us learn and integrate knowledge and skills: mentoring.

But despite the fact that both terms refer to different ways of guiding people, what are the main differences between coaching and mentoring? In the course of this article we will try to answer this question.

To understand the differences between coaching and mentoring, it is advisable to first think about what each of these terms means and what they imply.

We can understand coaching as a kind of accompanying process where the goal is to optimize the client’s satisfaction or help him/her to develop his/her potential or latent abilities, usually aimed at improving in a specific area or task. It should help to define and control the achievement of certain goals. This process is usually aimed at achieving a specific result in a relatively short time.

The role of the coach is to accompany the process, to provide tools and methods with which the client can develop independently. The aim of coaching is to promote personal and/or professional development.

As far as mentoring is concerned, it is also a process of accompaniment and also aims at the personal and/or professional improvement of the mentee. For this purpose, the figure of the mentor is used, an expert in the field to be worked on, who guides the client through his experience in order to impart knowledge and expand his skills.

The mentor acts as a guide and advisor, offering a more experienced perspective and helping the mentee to acquire new knowledge and skills. A relationship similar to that between master and student is established to enhance and strengthen the mentee’s abilities through the knowledge that is imparted.


Coaching vs. mentoring – the top 10 differences


Coaching works on a very specific topic.

Mentoring aims at the personal and professional development of clients, not only for their current challenges but also for the future.


In coaching, the coach is a mirror for the client, ignoring and leaving aside his own point of view. It is important that he does not share his point of view acquired through experience.

In mentoring it is crucial that the mentor shares and passes on his point of view and experience.


Coaching is task-oriented.

Mentoring focuses on the relationship.


Coaching requires knowledge of coaching techniques and appropriate training.

Mentoring requires a qualified professional with many years of experience in management positions and deep knowledge.


In coaching, the goals are set by the client.

In mentoring, the content can be specified by the mentor.


In coaching, the role of the coach is more of a tactical nature.

In mentoring the role of the mentor is more strategic and deepens the topics.


The coach gives neither advice nor recommendations, but helps his client to find his own answers.

The mentor gives the client advice and recommendations.


In coaching the relationship is a relationship of equality.

In mentoring, the relationship with the mentor is deepened by building emotional bonds.


The coach is the one who asks and the client is the one who answers.

In mentoring, the questions are asked by the mentee or client, which ensures that knowledge is passed on.


In coaching the experience is never expressed to the coachee and it is the client who learns from his own experience and knowledge.

In mentoring the basis for learning is the experience of the mentor.




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