Who Is a Mentor? What is Mentoring That Makes It Valuable?

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Who is a mentor and what is mentoring

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Many coaches position themselves as both a coach and mentor, as I do.  Recently I was asked about the differences between a mentor and a coach. Since this is a question others may have, I felt a blog post explaining about how I understand the differences would be appropriate. The exact definition appears to be elusive, so you may also find other thoughts on the topic.

Definition of Mentoring

Mentoring is a process through which an individual offers professional expertise as well as support to a less experienced colleague. A mentor serves as a teacher, counselor, and advocate to a protégée. Mentoring results in a mutually beneficial professional relationship over time.

Wikipedia’s definition of mentoring is, “…a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé).”

From the above definitions, it’s clear that a mentor is one who is a step or two on the ladder above the person whom he or she is supporting, usually referred to as the protégée, and is therefore able to offer suggestions, advice, and create strategies to move the protégée forward in whatever area of life he or she is qualified to give support.

Types of Mentors

Unlike a coach, a mentor is not always paid.  In fact, many times the person who is considered a mentor is not even aware that she holds this position for the other person.  A mentor can inspire and motivate you by means of blog posts, podcasts, articles, webinars, and other online or offline methods.

There are, however, formal mentoring relationships that are structured around specific times and schedules as in a coaching arrangement.  For a business mentor, these are designed to work with the mentee by sharing information, strategies, and techniques that will contribute to her business development and or personal growth.

Why Mentoring?

As explained previously, a mentor is also someone who’s an expert, or at least has a lot more knowledge on a topic that the mentee has so that she can help the mentee to achieve the level of success that he or she seeks. So, why mentoring?

In an article in which he reviewed the new book by Ken Blanchard, “One Minute Mentoring,” Martin Zwilling reviewed six key action steps in the mentoring process.

My favorite points or steps are:

  • Build and maintain a trusting partner relationship
  • Create opportunities for the mentee to grow.
    **That should always be the goal of the mentor.  This is accomplished by the value of the information shared and its relevance  to the needs of the mentee.
  • Regularly review progress and adjust focus.
    **As a mentor, it’s important to re-evaluate, on a regular basis, what is being delivered and the results, in order to ensure that the guidance provided is giving him or her the best results.

Mr. Zwilling also noted that the significant difference he found between mentoring and coaching was that, in his view, “… coaches focus on bringing out the best in an individual’s generic skills, while a mentor adds the element of sharing information about the industry, company, or business unit that the mentor believes is relevant to the mentee.”

Finally, as you serve as a mentor for others, seek ways to promote them and become their advocate.

If you’re looking for a mentoring program that will deliver value and provide the guidance and training you need to achieve the best results in your Personal Growth and Business Development, I invite you to check out my Platinum Group Mentoring Program, which begins on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 11:00 am EST.  There will be special offer for the first 20 members.  To get your special pricing, please message me through: www.YvonneAJones.com/contact-me.








Who Is a Mentor? What is Mentoring That Makes It Valuable? — 6 Comments

  1. Well said. I’ve both had mentors and served as a mentor so I am a firm believer in the value of this kind of support … for both parties.

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      Thank you for confirming the value that mentors can bring, Marquita, while in no way negating the value of a coach. I appreciate your visit to my blog.

  2. I like how you so simply explained the difference between mentoring, which I do for women going through cancer treatment, and coaching which I do for writers and professionals. Many people do not know the difference.

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      Your example of your dual roles clearly confirms the importance, yet differentiation of each role, Kathleen. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Very much agree that the role of mentor and coach get confused. I’ve always found that mentors take a more personal interest in you, which I think leads to a more confidence building experience.

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      I’ve had both, Joyce, and have found both to be very helpful and supportive, but for me those who acted in the capacity of mentors rather than ‘pure’ coaches, delivered more value because they shared their knowledge and experience. I can appreciate how you feel that mentors mentors create more confidence. Thank you for sharing.

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