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What is Mentoring?

Last updated June 11, 2013
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I'm often asked what is the difference between a business coach and mentor? In many respects they are very similar, they both focus on improvement in the business or the person. But they are different in the way that they are delivered, how the solution is delivered and by whom.

Firstly the who:

Mentors have been there and got the T-shirt. They have experienced exactly what you are facing and so, for example, if you are selling a business then engaging a mentor who has been through the process would be very beneficial. Similarly, if you want to develop yourself into the next CEO then a mentor who has been a CEO would be a great asset to you.

Mentors commit to mentee for a set period and invest time in getting to know the mentee, their capabilities, interests and ambitions. The mentor will be knowledgeable in their field and pass on wisdom gained through their own business experiences.

Great mentors are able to teach and guide you through the process; it's all about sharing past experiences in order to learn.

Business coaching is all about improving and developing people and their businesses to achieve their goals, whatever they maybe.

A coach is not a consultant; they do not direct you or do it for you. In fact great coaches will help you to discover, define and then do. A coach will be an inspiration, a sounding board, a boss, a confident, a shoulder to cry on and a challenger too. A coach has a great ability to ask those individual, difficult but critical questions and a great coach has the ability to ask questions that plant a seed in the coachee’s mind that grows and then takes their thinking to another level.

I have recently discovered this great infographic, What Is Mentoring?  from the Sainsbury’s Management Fellows, it neatly and pictorially answers the question what is mentoring?


Sainsbury Management Fellows is a UK charity promoting engineering in business and they produced the infographic to promote business mentoring. Further information on the Sainsbury Management Fellows can be found at www.smf.org.uk

Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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