The difference between coaching and mentoring

What is the difference between mentoring and coaching?

Many people use the two terms interchangeably, which leads to confusion.  In addition, there are many service providers in the market calling themselves "coaches" even though they have not undertaken any accredited coach training nor earned a coaching credential, which means they may lack the skills to truly provide the service in a safe and effective way.

However, if you are considering seeking professional support to assist with - and accelerate - your development, you will want to be clear on the differences between coaching and mentoring so that you can choose which service is best suited to your situation.

The following definitions come from the organizations that form the Global Coaching Mentoring Alliance.



"Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.  Coaching is facilitating the client’s learning process by using professional methods and techniques to help the client to improve what is obstructive and nurture what is effective, in order to reach the client’s goals."



"Mentoring can be described as a developmental process which may involve a transfer of skill or knowledge from a more experienced to a less experienced person through learning dialogue and role modeling, and may also be a learning partnership between peers."


For more information on coaching, and to search for a qualified professional coach, visit the International Coach Federation.