1. They are Different by Definition.
    -Coaches care about an individual’s performance in specific activities. Coaches watch you practice specific skills and then identify areas to improve. You’ll incorporate their feedback, practice again, and repeat the process.
    -A mentor helps their mentees with their personal and professional development. They are more concerned with their mentee’s holistic improvement rather than specific skills that can be learned through practice.
  2. Development vs. Performance
    While coaching is driven by performance, mentoring is driven by the development of the mentee. This can mean development of career, interpersonal skills, and/or professional network. Mentors want to see you grow. Coaches also want to see you grow, but they will measure your growth on performance-based outcomes. They will look at if you are achieving goals, and hold you accountable to your performance.
  3. Differences in Duration
    Mentoring requires a significant time commitment from both parties. Mentors and mentees may start out as casual acquaintances, but often build strong fellowships that can continue for years.
    Coaching has a defined ending. Parties may meet just once or over a period of time, however the relationship usually terminates when the trainee masters the specific skill or goal they were working on.
  4. Input from Leadership
    Mentoring requires little oversight. Although a manager may be assigned to administer the logistics of a mentoring program, formal supervision is rarely required. For the most part, mentors and mentees steer the direction of their relationship. Coaching requires active engagement. A manager must monitor the progress, solicit regular feedback from the coach, and oftentimes determine when a coaching initiative should conclude.

Whether you need a coach or a mentor, finding the right one can spur you along your own path to greatness while helping you avoid or minimize pitfalls