Can You Tell the Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring?

Executive & Leadership Coach * Professional Mentor * Facilitator * Author - Maree McPherson Consulting

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I’ve formed a habit at the start of every new coaching engagement. I ask my new clients if they’ve ever been coached before, and what they know about it.

Many people ask me if it’s like mentoring, and we then have a conversation about that. I take time to explain how I define coaching, mentoring, and consulting, and why I think they are different.

While most people don’t ask (perhaps because they think they should know), they are often pleased to know the distinctions.

I guess it’s a bit like choosing a new plant for the garden. You might always buy roses, because they’re your favourite flower and you’ve learned how to grow them. You know there are several different varieties. However, unless you’re an expert or commercial producer, you’re unlikely to know the details about all the species.

Pamela McLean provides a helpful guide to the differences between coaching, mentoring, consulting and counselling in her 2012 book. I’ve adapted her framework for use in my practice, and it’s how I explain the differences between my services.

You might be wondering about coaching or mentoring, and what service would be best for you. Or, you’re working in an organisation that could use some help, yet you’re not sure what that help might look like.

To help you work that out, I’ve developed a short paper Is Coaching the Same as Mentoring? How Do I Work Out the Difference?

If you’d like a copy sent to you, send me a message here and it will be on it’s way.

Maree McPherson

Executive & Leadership Coach * Professional Mentor * Facilitator * Author - Maree McPherson Consulting

Maree McPherson, Founder of Maree McPherson Consulting, is an experienced and credentialed executive coach, mentor and author. Maree is also a facilitator and MC. She works with corporate organisations, not-for-profits and individuals. Maree’s primary work is with organisations and businesses that invest in and support regional Australia. As an executive coach she has a portfolio of clients across regional Victoria, Melbourne, and interstate. In her practice, Maree helps people create their own opportunities. She is passionate about helping women create their own possibility in regional and rural areas. The city isn’t necessarily a better place to have a career, run a business, or raise a family. The thing that sets Maree apart is that she is what she preaches – her diverse and varied career background has been possible in regional Australia and she has experienced many of the challenges and joys that regional people describe.

Maree is an experienced not for profit, government and community leader. She creates strong relationships across multiple stakeholder groups and is a proven effective broker of partnerships, with over 30 years’ experience including as a CEO in the public and not for profit domains. She is a member of the Victorian Government’s Regional Development Advisory Committee, a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, and has tertiary qualifications in executive and organisational coaching, business and social welfare.

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Sally-Anne Watson Kane
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Sally-Anne Watson Kane

Thank you for bringing this up, Maree. I am registered as a Mentor (for early career editors) with IPEd and RMIT mentoring services, and have done a little bit of training about what its involved but to be quite honest, I wouldn’t be able to clearly explain the difference between mentoring and coaching. Would you please send me your paper? Thank you. email: info@ontimetyping.com