Businesses love sports analogies, maybe that´s why there are professional coaches. There are a lot of coaches in business — executive, sale, marketing, life-balance, etc. There are even blog coaches.
And then there are mentors.
Coach and mentor are often used interchangeably. Sometimes consultants will float between the two, dependant upon the direction of the prevailing wind or the latest competitive offer.
I have a different picture in my mind regarding coaching and mentoring. Coaching is more hands on, more practical, more involved. Coaches attend and lead every practice, they study the game, they give direction during play"?¦they´re part of the team.
Mentors, on the other hand, put in less time, give broad advice, and don´t give near as much time as a coach. The mentor isn´t involved in the play of the game — when the game starts, the mentor in nowhere near the sidelines — they review and critique afterwards.
In the past, I´ve offered both coaching and mentoring services. My mentoring services were always less involved, shorter in duration, and delivering broad, unspecified advice. My coaching services are always detailed, more frequent, and specific to the particular engagement. Both have an application.
I prefer coaching and believe it´s the higher value service.
What do you think? Do you see a difference between coaching and mentoring services? If so, which do you prefer? Why?