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Do I need a business coach or a business mentor?

Coaching and mentoring are two terms often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different types of relationships and approaches.

Coaching typically involves a structured process in which a coach helps a client to achieve specific goals or improve performance in a specific area, such as business, career, leadership, or personal development. Coaching sessions are usually focused on specific topics and the coach often provides guidance, feedback, and accountability to help the client reach their goals. This is a thought-provoking process that inspires the coachee (the entrepreneur) to reach their own decisions and actions through questioning from the coach. The GROW methodology is often used (Goal, Reality, Options and Way Forward).

Mentoring, on the other hand, is a more informal and often long-term relationship in which a more experienced person provides guidance and support to a less experienced person. A mentor serves as a role model, provides advice and feedback, and helps the mentee develop new skills, knowledge and experiences. This relationship provides a safe environment in which the mentee can share their aspirations, fears, anxieties and successes, using the mentor as a sounding board and learning from their experiences. The mentor often brings a new perspective to the topic of focus.

In summary, coaching is typically focused on achieving specific goals or improving performance in a particular area, while mentoring is more focused on developing the mentee’s overall professional and personal growth. Coaching tends to be more structured and focused on the present, while mentoring is often more informal and focused on the long-term development of the mentee.

More about the author:

Jill Pay, Chairman – The Gender Index

Jill is a Non-executive Director of mnAi, an AI-driven technology company that gives real-time research and analysis on UK companies, and the Chairman of The Gender Index, a not-for-profit organization that is quantifying the impact of women-led companies to achieve positive and disruptive change. Her career has zigzagged across public and private sectors and the enormous impact is that she is now a relentless champion of the need to establish metrics to standardize economic progression led by women.

Previously Jill was Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons and the first woman to hold this position in 600 years. Her appointment was unusual in that her predecessors all came from a military background.  She retired from this post on 31 January 2012.

Jill also holds a number of senior roles for organisations including the children’s literacy charity Coram Beanstalk, the women’s business network Savvitas Global and the Women and Enterprise All Party Parliamentary Group chaired by Craig Tracey MP. She is a major driving force behind the acceleration and empowerment of female entrepreneurship internationally.