Mentoring vs. Coaching

Main differences between mentoring and coaching

One of the most asked questions we get is “What’s the difference between a mentor and a coach?”.

To be honest, there is a lot of cross-over between them both but there are a number of key characteristics that define each role. Here is a summary of the differences:



  1. Based more on the needs of the mentee
  2. Personal transformation
  3. Development Based
  4. Mid to Long Term
  5. Manager involved only indirectly
  6. Needs structured program
  7. Mentor receives no compensation
  8. Relationship Oriented
  9. Mentoring is bi-directional
  10. Mentoring is transformational and affects culture
  11. Mentors and mentorees remain in the organization and can provide ongoing mentoring to others
  12. Mentoring involves the whole person
  13. Interpersonal skills more important in mentoring
  14. Not dependent upon performance management systems
  15. Diversity is a component of mentoring
  16. Mentoring most often is done 1-on-1 but other models may be utilized
  17. Never remedial
  18. Mentors and mentorees require training
  19. Internal politics a consideration in program design
  20. Focus on professional and personal development
  21. Mentors operate with assistance from the Mentoring Program Manager
  22. Tends to be informal to formal, depends on the relationship


  1. Based on the needs of the client company
  2. Behavioral transformation
  3. Performance Based
  4. Short Term
  5. Manager directly involved
  6. Can be adhoc
  7. Coach paid for services
  8. Task Oriented
  9. Coaching is one-directional
  10. Cultural change may/may not occur
  11. Coaches leave organization when done
  12. Coaching is focused on the business person
  13. Content expertise more important in coaching
  14. Tied in with performance management systems
  15. Diversity may or may not be included
  16. Coaching done 1-on-1
  17. Can be done for remedial purposes
  18. Less training of coachee needed
  19. Internal politics not usually affected
  20. Business focused over personal
  21. Coach operates independently
  22. Usually formal with ground rules set

For more about the differences between mentoring and coaching read this article >>