Business Coach vs Business Mentor: Is there a Difference?

When it comes to my Business, which do I need? Coaching or Mentoring?

I have spent many years helping dozens of companies solve problems and it has dawned on me that there was a distinct difference in the approach I took on different occasions.  One was as a Business Coach and the Other as a Business Mentor.  But I wonder if there was ever really a difference.  Well, I think there is.  And here is why.

A Business Mentor works with a person or company to understand where they are in their business lifecycle and to guide you towards improvements which together you both have identified.  They work with you to identify issues, challenges, directions and hurdles that may not be as obvious to you.  They do not normally create business plans or plans of attack.

A business mentor is more like a sounding board (or as my daughter says, a human whiteboard that speaks). They are often experts in their field or have extensive experience in industry and business.  They listen and comment but seldom will tell you what to do.  They suggest more than tell.  A Business Mentor gives you advice and guidance and let you make the decisions.  Their job is to let you see the path for yourself and make decisions you are comfortable with. 

But most importantly a Business Mentor is there to develop a long-term relationship with you and be the person you can turn to for guidance and advice without having to pay for expensive plans and strategy session.

A Business coach on the other hand is there to create a plan of action to move your business forward.  They specialise in fixing issues and in helping to plan for the future. A Business Coach helps you to improve your skills, develop new methods and procedures and deal with issues in a systematic manner through training and workshops. Their focus is on sorting out action plans and strategies and fixing anything that reduces your productivity. They help and teach you how to identify and fix these issues in the future also.

Business Coach should be focused on tasks and training you to implement strategies and plans to help steer your company.  They should be giving you actionable items to achieve and goals to aim for.

A business coach is not normally a long-term relationship and while many will say it is, this should not be true.  If they are there for a long time, then they are not really fixing things are they?

Depending on what you need out of the relationship will depend on what sort of person you need to help you move forwards.  There are some people who do both but do not get them confused.  One is going to cost you a lot more money than the other so be mindful of what you truly need.

  • If you need someone to just talk to and throw ideas around then get a Mentor.
  • If you need assistance in setting up a growth strategy, then get a Coach.

Either way the journey will be made more exciting with one or the other helping you.

Ok, you can go now.

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