Are Coaching and Mentoring the same thing?
Coaching and Mentoring are two words that are mixed up quite often in the teaching and learning process. It is important to know what they mean and their practical implementations. Furthermore, teaching should also not be confused with these terms because these terms are completely different.
Coaching is a function in which a coach helps an individual in polishing existing skills in order for them to perform a task. The time duration of when coaching starts and ends is pre-set. This relationship is formal and structured where meetings are scheduled regularly. On the other hand, mentoring is an informal long term relationship between the mentor (guider) and the mentee (the one being guided). This relationship is built for the mentee to have constant support and guidance for various aspects of life.
A mentor has an authority to help their mentee in personal and professional development. A mentor is mostly an experienced person who knows and is qualified enough. This experience and qualification makes the mentor recommend their mentees’ in choosing a specific field for further studies, work and personal life. Also they can provide further opportunities that cannot be provided by anyone else because of their post in an organisation or hierarchical position.
From a narrow perspective, coaching and mentoring both assist in polishing an individual’s skills and help them grow in different aspects of work or personal life.
Coaching focuses on assisting an individual areas of development. For instance, if a teenager is good at playing football and wants to improve further in it then only a football coach can assist him in doing so. The coach will make him practice and highlighting his areas of improvement.
Whereas, if a mentee is facing a problem in adjusting in his new workplace then only a mentor can assist him. This is because a mentor will talk to his mentee and try to discover a problem that the mentee has not discovered. The adjustment problems can be because of an event the mentee faced when they joined a new school and got bullied. The fear of getting bullied can be a reason. It takes time for an individual to open up to someone and talk about their life history. This can be done only when the two people have a long term relationship or bond.
In coaching, the plan of improvement is made by the coach himself. This is because of lack of time duration and the plan is to achieve immediate and specific goals. However, in mentoring, it is the opposite. The agenda is set by the mentee to achieve long term goals.
Finally, in coaching, the meetings are set by the coach on a regular basis. Referring to the example above, until player has not mastered in dodging the ball, the coach will not go further ahead in teaching new techniques. Whereas in mentoring, the mentee decided when to meet and what has to be discussed as the mentor resolves all the problems that the mentee faces in at any point in life in any aspect.
In conclusion, a teacher is not a mentor or a coach for a student. This is merely because a teacher is someone who passes on their knowledge to their students and they are the best at the subject they teach. However, it is a preferred to have a mentor in life for a student who can discover their abilities, skills and hidden talents, polish them and help the student peruse their talent as their career. Whereas, a coach can only help in improving specific areas in life and having a coach is beneficial if one has a discovered talent and wants to polish it.