Often, people use the words “coach” and “mentor” interchangeably. But what is the difference between coaching and mentoring? It is important to understand that while both help supports people to develop, mentoring has more of a specialized teaching element than coaching. Mentors use precise methods to teach a person how to do something specific, with the goal of spreading their knowledge to the mentee.
On the other hand, coaching uses questions and active listening to help a person think through possible problems or challenges without showing them how to complete a problem. See how Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, President Susan Tomlinson Schmidt, CNP incorporated coaching as a leadership tool on her first day.
Which is more important?
An effective manager’s skillset needs to include both coaching and mentoring. But, finding the right amount of each in your manager position can be tricky. A manager needs to know when to coach and when to provide mentorship. In other words, when to ask and when to teach.
If you are only using a mentoring strategy, an assumption can be made that you feel your staff does not have the knowledge and requires specialized teaching. If this isn’t the case, you can be disempowering your employees. This puts your team at risk of feeling unmotivated.
In contrast, if you are only implementing a coaching strategy at your organization you risk missing out on valuable development opportunities.
By utilizing both techniques in a balance, you can empower your staff to grow professionally within your nonprofit organization.
Our newest certificate, Coaching as a Leadership Tool, is designed to transform your role as a leader. Whether you are in a leadership role currently, you are an aspiring leader, or you just want to be better equipped to help your peers solve their own problems, these courses will help. And you will learn as much about yourself as you do your team!