The most critical questions a business owner can ask themselves when looking for an external ally to help them grow their business, who will help me take my business to the next level, a coach or a mentor? To further elaborate on the criticality of the question, imagine yourself standing in a shop where you can buy a time machine, and the salesperson asks you," where do you want to travel to, past or future".
Most business coaches present their credentials as previous owners of successful businesses, and since they have been in your shoes in the past, they can help you in the present and future. They offer to take you to their history to learn from their experiences, mistakes, and success so that you can succeed.
Mentorship is about someone else past and learning from their experiences. The assumption is that everything around you, including yourself, your mindset, your strengths and weaknesses, is almost the same as the person mentoring you. This approach can and does work in limited circumstances, but not always. Factors around us are changing at a rate we have never seen been and no two days are alike. It's actually about them and not you.
Coaching is about the present and future. It is about helping you create your own journey. You may make mistakes but the coach will ensure you learn from these and do not repeat them. A coach leverages you, your mindset, strength, weakness, circumstances, and strengths. It's all about you. Note a business coach does leverage their past experiences and learnings but not for you to use it as is but to help you find your path forward. They use it to create flags and boundaries allowing you to make choices and decisions.
Here are four critical differences between a coach and a mentor Future Focused Vs. Past Orientation
A coach works per the client's needs and style to solve present and future problems. In contrast, a business mentor shares their past and personal experiences, assuming that their mentee has the ability, knowledge and skills to tailor it to their situation.
Learning Journey vs. Advice
A coach shares feedback, frameworks, methodologies and tools to help their clients explore and find a more relevant and tailored solution. This approach upskills clients to build their capability to do the same for themselves in future. On the other hand, a mentor provides advice or solution based on their personal experiences without considering clients unique situations and circumstances. The expectation is that the client can apply them as is.
Mindset shift vs. Solution-focused
A coach facilitates behaviours and mindset change by offering choices, questioning thought processes and reinforcing learning. A mentor provides immediate solutions focused more on putting out fires rather than preventing them.
Independence vs. Dependence
A coach enables their clients to build their capability by reinforcing the learnings and embedding a structured approach to problem-solving. On the other hand, a mentor unconsciously feeds dependency syndrome by offering solutions without making the client do the hard work to search for them.
You can book a complimentary coaching session with Atif to experience how coaching works and also walk away a simple action plan. Our free "Business Health Assessment" will also help you discover the areas you need to focus on to build a sustainable and self-propelled business.
You can also book a complimentary coaching session with Atif to discuss your immediate challenges and create an action plan.