Coaching and Mentoring

  • Add to list Added to list Added
  • Download PDFopens in new window
  • Cite
  • Share
  • Embed


Coaching and mentoring are empathic learning relationships which can support your professional and personal development in that they raise awareness, engender changes in attitudes and behavior, and develop your leadership skills, for example. Coaching and mentoring are essentially similar in nature; however, while mentoring focusses on the growth of the whole person and aims to enhance your personal and professional growth, coaching is goal-oriented and aims to enhance the development of specific skills and job performance.

Basically, by engaging in a coaching or mentoring relationship, you as the coachee/mentee can think of planning a journey with the ongoing support of your coach/mentor. First, you decide what you want, establishing short-term and/or long-term goals. Then, you examine your starting point—where you are right now in your journey. After that, you explore various options in terms of what you could do to achieve your envisioned goal(s), including identifying the obstacles that have been holding you back. Finally, you ensure that you are committed to the journey and prepared to face obstacles along the way. At every step in this process, you are asking yourself a lot of questions in order to move forward toward your goal(s).

Mentoring is a rather informal, long-term development-driven relationship between an older, more experienced adult and a younger individual aiming at improving the overall development and longer-term career prospects of the mentee. Responsibilities of a mentor involve giving advice, voicing opinions, discussing career plans, and potential obstacles, providing opportunities for social, professional, and business connections, sharing experiences gained through their own development process and work, and providing insights into what they experience in their job from day to day. The mentor acts as a role model, supports and counsels the mentee, and creates a safe environment by providing social and emotional support in order to establish a trusting developmental relationship.

Coaching is a rather formal, short-term performance-driven relationship with a coach who has expertise in a given area in which the coachee desires improvement (e.g., skills and job performance). A coach assists you in becoming more self-aware, learn more about yourself, your life, studies and career, and find solutions yourself facilitated by your coach. In its 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Survey, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) found that 35% of Generation Z respondents (those born after 1995) had a coach. Life coaching for young people can be a useful solution when they are wondering what their purpose in life should be or when they are experiencing difficulties. Coaching can provide young people with opportunities to talk about difficult subjects such as relationships or bullying, manage emotions, gain a new perspective on things, set goals for self-improvement, and build confidence and motivation.

Coaching and mentoring can have invaluable benefits. As a coachee/mentee, you get support in defining your life and/or career goals. You receive encouragement and support to tackle difficult subjects and solve problems, broaden your perspective, learn to ask yourself critical questions, and reflect critically on your own behavior in order to move forward toward your life/career goals.

Further Reading

Clutterbuck, D. (2008). What’s happening in coaching and mentoring? And what is the difference between them?Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, 22(4), 810.
Mentoring, EuropeanCoaching Council (EMCC)et al. (2011). The professional charter for coaching and mentoring.
Fairley, S. G., & Zipp, B. (2008). The business coaching toolkit: Top 10 strategies for solving the toughest dilemmas facing organizations (p. 230). Wiley.
Parsloe, E., & Wray, M. (2000). Coaching and mentoring: Practical methods to improve learning. Kogan Page.
List of Professional Coaching/Mentoring Organizations
  • The Association for Coaching is a leading independent and not-for-profit professional body dedicated to promoting best practices and raising the awareness and standards of coaching, worldwide. Their purpose is to inspire and champion coaching excellence, to advance the coaching profession, and to make a sustainable difference to individuals, organizations, and society.
  • The Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) is the top-level professional membership body for executive coaching, supervision, and advisory services to corporate organizations. APECS exists to ensure that in a complex world, organizations are enabled to use coaching and supervision to deliver ethical and sustainable development.
  • The Coaching and Mentoring Network connects interested members with providers of personal, professional, and organizational development services and provides free information resources about coaching and mentoring. The community is drawn from a wide range of backgrounds committed to professionalism and respect for the diversity of practice that exists in this dynamic field.
  • The Global Coaching Mentoring Alliance (GCMA) aims to professionalize the industry in the field of coaching and mentoring and express a shared view of the practice of professional coaching.
  • The International Association of Coaching (IAC) is on a global mission to provide a highly accountable professional development model for aspiring and experienced coaches, as well as professionals in other fields, so their mastery of coaching is valued and contributes to evolving human potential worldwide.
  • The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest and most recognized organization of professionally trained coaches. Representing executive coaches, life coaches, leadership coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches, and more, ICF’s mission is to advance coaching so that it becomes an integral part of a thriving society.