2 years ago I didn’t know the answer to this question! Knowing the answer to this question would have helped me decide what kind of support I needed and what to expect when I embarked on being coached or mentored.
Many people are still really not clear on what the differences are between a coach or a mentor (which is understandable) and what problem they can solve. I’m going to explain the differences to help decide which is best for you.
Here’s how I would describe what I offer using some example questions my customers ask me:
“Can you help with my marketing and business strategy?”
If you want advice and something implemented, then I would offer my digital marketing consultant and business mentor services.
“I’m terrified of putting myself out there? What if my business fails? I haven’t got the confidence to raise my prices?”
You’re feeling stuck, you can’t move forward with your business, and you don’t know where to start when it comes to getting advice and support. That’s when I would offer to coach you, either through 1-2-1 support or through my group coaching programme. Coaching with me will help you get better results in your business and help you feel empowered, confident and gain clarity.
“I’ve heard that coaching can support and help me, but is it true?”
The answer is “yes” a coach or mentor can help you. However, there are some caveats here, as well. It’s all about finding the right coach for you. Also, it depends on you. Do you feel ready to ask yourself questions and possibly look to challenge your way of thinking? Are you feeling stuck in the same patterns, and something is preventing you from taking action? For example, you’re not happy with your current business, and you’re not taking steps to change it?
Finding the right person to support you is crucial, it’s been life-changing for me, and it’s lovely to see the difference my coaching makes for my clients.
There are coaches and consultants out there who specialise in particular sectors, ages, and demographics. There are wellness coaches, health coaches, fitness coaches, business coaches, life coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches, confidence coaches, and mindset coaches! You name a business or a problem, and there will be a coach who can help you.
No matter your stage, both mentors and coaches can be valuable resources. What’s the difference between the two? How do you know which is needed?
Here’s my definition of the differences to help you choose the right person to support you:
Are typically advisors, people who guide and support you. Perhaps they’re ahead of you in their career or business, or maybe they can offer insight or expertise that you feel could help you move forward with your career or business. They can provide advice to help support you with your business or personal goals, depending on your requirements. They can often be within a work setting as well, so you could get assigned one through the company you work for.
There are lots of coaches out there, and you don’t need a qualification to call yourself a coach. Personally, I wanted to understand and seek certified training before I called myself a coach. It was essential to me that I had world-class coaching training so I could properly support and help my clients. Through my coaching diploma, I learnt that the difference between a qualified coach and mentor is this: Coaches help and support you towards your goals, not by advising but by asking questions, being present, and utilising active listening to help YOU find your answers.
It’s very different from advising someone and giving them your point of view. Both are different ways of supporting a client.
It’s all about finding out what the client needs personally and what will drive you forward confidently.
I have found during many of my coaching sessions that the coachee often seeks advice. It’s essential that I ensure that the client is aware of what coaching is and what mentoring is, and this needs to be clear before you start the coaching sessions.
I offer both mentoring and coaching; however, to confuse things, I will still use coaching techniques even as a mentor. I still think it’s essential that you don’t just advise someone but also ask the right question, so they can find their answer, as really which one is right? Your advice or helping the client work out what they want?
When you find the answers yourself through guidance and through coaching, it’s a very empowering process, and you will feel more confident and have more clarity in your own direction.
When I approach a coaching session I’m on a level playing field; neither party is the expert, no one needs fixing – it’s all about helping the client unlock their path and find the right answers within them.
I believe coaching is an empowering process, whereas mentoring is more about guiding and teaching.
“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” Zig Ziglar.
There are more business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs seeking coaching now than ever before. Probably due to the success people attach to it and also because of the increase of people running their own business and the rise of the entrepreneur that often works alone or with a remote team. You don’t always have the classic office infrastructure and support in place, so you need to look elsewhere for that support.
Before I became a coach, I was a bit baffled by the rise in coaches out there. However, I found myself hearing success stories from people I respected and trusted, and that made me realise that I would benefit from a coach myself. I’ve been coached periodically for over ten years now. However, it’s only in the last two years that I have adequately committed and invested in coaching. It was through being coached that I then realised that I wanted to become a coach myself.
We could all benefit from the right coaching training; I wish I’d done the training years ago as I think it would have made me a better leader and team player. Pretty much, everyone, I have met who is a coach or is a coach in training has committed to self-development. This journey makes you a better coach for your clients, and that’s why coaches have coached themselves; they believe in the process.
Ironically, I have been saying for the last 20 years that everyone should have a therapist (that’s what they do in the States, right?) I believed everyone would benefit from talk therapy. With the development of coaching training (like the training I have had with Animas in transformational coaching) I now say – everyone should have a coach.
Over this last year, I have had two coaches and a business mentor. I learnt something from every single one of them. I’m a business owner who works with a remote team and various contractors, so if I wanted to move my business forward, I needed to make sure I got the right advice and support. I wouldn’t have accelerated to where I am now and where I am going without the ongoing help I receive. I also know that investing in this support will make me a better coach, mentor and trainer for my clients.
Coaching has been life-changing for me, and I would be stuck doing things the same way if I hadn’t explored and ensured I had the right support.
Before you choose a coach or mentor make sure you are clear on what you would like to achieve from the coaching, I always provide a pre-coaching questionnaire and a free call to clarify what you need before we start.