top of page

Solving the mystery of the difference between coaching and mentoring


Mentoring is a process by which the mentee works with the mentor to elicit a particular skill, attribute, piece of knowledge, or even a network. It helps if there is a good relationship between the mentor and mentee, however, a mentoring relationship can be successful even when it is very functional.

The conversations between the mentor and mentee will typically be heavily weighted towards the mentor in terms of time spent speaking.


Coaching is the process of creating resourcefulness and insight in others. The role of the coach is not to suggest, guide or tell. Instead, the coach uses well-crafted questions which clarify the goal, elicit the current reality in respect of that goal, create a range of possible next steps, and, finally, help the coachee to commit to a specific next step.

Opening up and igniting insight relies on a degree of chemistry and trust between the coach and the coachee.

What if the coach knows the answer?

I would be lying if I said I never make a suggestion, ever, when coaching. However, most organisations have a challenge with managers consistently giving the answer or telling their people what to do.

This becomes part of the culture. The people ask the questions, and their manager answers. The people don’t think for themselves, and the manager wonders why they don’t think for themselves.

If you want your people to think for themselves more, to come up with their own solutions, to come up with suggestions rather than problems, then practising classic coaching, where the coach offers no solutions, will help your people to make a huge step forward.

Do you need more coaches?

If you need more coaches in your organisation, or want to put the building blocks in place to establish a coaching culture, get in touch now.

Here is a quote from a participant in our most recent coaching masterclass.

If you only do one course during your career this is the one! This course allows you to learn the tools to make yourself a more effective manager and colleague, but also gives you the ability to access powerful tools which will help you to grow as a person. Coaching is a great tool to build engagement within your teams and to help you find even more meaning in your day job.

To learn more about our approach to developing coaching capability, email me now via


bottom of page