Coaching or Mentoring — why you may need both

Marshall Goldsmith said it best with his book title “What got you here, won’t get you there” The corporate world is no different. Every layer of executives has a new set of skills that have to be learned to get to the next rung in leadership.

The coaching space has flourished into a $ 13.4 Billion industry as of 2020; they cover a variety of disciplines from holistic spaces like life, business, sports to more specialized spaces like speech, dance & fitness.

Success is seldom reached without some level of coaching, so why do most people shy away from it? Some of the reasons include:

  • Cost
  • Lack of time
  • Complexity in identifying a coach
  • Satisfied with the Status Quo — Not Goal Oriented

Coaches can also be used for an organization not just an individual. In this case, the business coach is more focused on goal setting for the business where it needs to be within a period of time. This may include individual goals that are linked to the companies overall vision (goals)

Strategic Coach identifies 5 reasons why business coaching is essential:

1. The Meaning of life is not work

2. Invest in yourself

3. You don’t have the time not to

4. You aren’t alone — You may feel your problem is unique, but there are many in the same space

5. Your relationships improve. Staying focussed on your goal does not mean sacrificing relationships, this is often a byproduct of success, but it does not need to be

Mentoring often has both people within the same organization, the mentor and the mentee, to help guide an executive through their earlier years, with the necessary technical experience, career guidance, and in some cases decision making.

Mentors however are not necessarily confined to the same organization, they can stretch out to the wider industry or even as intimate as a relative in your family structure. Hence they can be relatively unstructured and informal and usually volunteer-based as a result can stretch across a wider time frame than coaching.

The big question — Which one do you need?

A rule of thumb for choosing a mentor

  • You are a student
  • Recently graduate
  • Or new to an industry or company.

A rule of thumb for picking a coach

  • The goal is defined with a timeline as an individual or organization
  • Improve technique, standard, or performance from their existing benchmark.
  • Completely new to the task

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