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Mentoring versus Coaching - what does it mean to you?

Press release April 24, 2013 Education

Mentoring is not coaching and coaching is not mentoring. Mentoring may at some point in the process include coaching elements, if the mentor and mentee jointly work towards a common goal, which the mentee needs, help with.

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Basically, mentoring is aimed at reflection of the mentee, and it is the ability to engage in dialogue about personal and professional conduct that is essential for the depth of a conversation. The reflection is not essential in a coaching relationship, where it is more the effort towards a given goal which is the starting point.

In the same way as coaching, mentoring within the organization can be a stimulating management tool.

Despite the fact that mentoring may contain coaching elements, there are several differences between these two concepts. First and foremost the time factor varies as mentoring is based on a long-term relationship whereas coaching is a temporary situation. Next, mentoring describes a deeper process than coaching, as it requires an emotional empathy.

Therefore, mentoring is not a matter of professional solutions to specific tasks and projects, but instead aims at more long-term and personal goals. In this way, mentoring is characterized as a personal experience where the development target is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, as it applies to coaching.

The main differences between these two ways of developingis listed in the following:


An opinion
Longer period
No specific task
Learning with
The mentor is a role model – transfer of implicit knowledge from the mentor.


A tool or a methodology
Job focused
Shorter period
Inrelation to a specific task
Instruction, discussion, dialogue
Learning from
The coach does not necessarily represent the desired competencies.

According to the table from the book 'Mentor –a heart cause', mentoring is not the same tool as coaching. Toft and Hildebrandt point out that mentoring cannot be said to be a tool, as the mentor relationship requires both empathy and tact.

The fact that mentoring is more of an attitude than a tool should not be the basis for the organization's choice not to introduce mentoring. This chapter will describe how management can implement and use mentoring as a type of tool.

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