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Mentoring vs Coaching

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about the difference between coaching and mentoring, you’re not alone. The two can seem very similar and it’s easy to get confused about the differences between them. Both are based on the relationship between two people and, though the methods might differ between coaching and mentoring, both are about helping people grow, develop and reach their full potential.

Mentors and coaches can help you make progress in your personal and professional life. But to know which one is right for you, you need to know how to tell them apart.


A coach is normally a paid-for, specially-trained professional who provides guidance on specific topics and goals.

Here are some key identifiers of Coaches:

  • Receives special training to guide people in any field towards their goals.

  • Help is given by an expert to an individual for the improvement of their performance.

  • Typically provides the service as their full-time job and is a paid professional.

  • Usually, a short-term engagement.

  • Geared towards a specific outcome, for a short period of time and oriented toward certain results.

  • A coach is unlikely to share personal contacts.

  • Performance-driven.

  • Coaches ask questions to uncover areas for improvement.

  • More structured and formal approach, usually agreed in advance.

  • Specific measurable goals.


Mentoring on the other hand is typically a development-focused relationship - the mentor passes on their skills, knowledge and experience to their mentee. A Mentor isn't necessarily trained to be a mentor but they are someone who’s been there and done that.

Upnotch Mentors are an evolution of traditional mentors.

  • They don't necessarily have formal training in mentorship however their advice is based on their own knowledge, success, expertise and experience.

  • They listen, guide, advise and support their mentees - in either one specific area or several different ones.

  • Voluntary - mentorships are not their full-time job and they usually do not get paid.

  • Sometimes it's a long-term engagement where the frequency and regularity of contact varies according to what both parties can commit to.

  • Other times, Upnotch mentors can help advise mentees as they face specific challenges in shorter-term engagements, where both parties meet about once a month.

  • There are no rules on the association between a mentor and a mentee - which means there's greater flexibility when it comes to figuring out when and how the parties meet. Once a month, every couple of months or even just every time the mentee has a specific question.

  • No matter the length of engagement, relationships have the potential to last a lifetime if they result in friendship.

  • Mentors may open their network for advancement opportunities.

  • Development-driven.

  • Typically, mentees ask their mentors questions to learn from their experience.

  • Mutually beneficial relationship - both parties learn from one another.

  • Free.


Both mentoring and coaching are extremely effective and it's up to you to decide which is the best for you. Sometimes a good mentor can even help you decide if you need a coach!

Download Upnotch to start a conversation with a Mentor today!

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