A business coach OR a business mentor?

In my blog ‘What support do you need in your business’ I touched on the type of support that a coach or mentor can bring to your business, but what is the difference between these two? We hear the terms ‘coach’ and ‘mentor’ so frequently in the world of business that it can be easy to mistake them as being the same thing.

There are however differences between the two roles, perhaps the main one being that coaching is usually task orientated, and mentoring is relationship orientated.


A mentor is a more experienced individual willing to share knowledge with someone less experienced in a relationship of mutual trust.

David Clutterbuck
  • Whether in an employed job role, or running your own business, a mentor is someone who provides support to you with regards to your growth and development within that role.
  • A mentor is usually a long term relationship where you can share your concerns, challenges and fears that you feel may be impacting your success. 
  • A mentoring relationship is built on trust, and that trust is needed in order for you to feel secure in sharing the issues you face. 
  • A mentoring relationship can be informal, and the frequency of your meetings will depend on when you feel you need support and advice. 
  • A mentor is usually someone more experienced and qualified than you. Often they have been through what you are going through, so they can offer their expertise, advice and guidance on how to move forward. 
  • Mentoring is focussed on your personal development and to build capability not only for now but for the future. Mentoring should help you to discover your wisdom, coping mechanisms and confidence, enough to be self-reliant in achieving your goals. 


  • A coaching relationship is usually time-specific and short term. This is because your coach is more focused on the specific development or achievement of a goal. 
  • Coaching is more performance-driven to improve your performance with the support of someone who has experienced it themselves.
  • Coaches will usually have an area of expertise, for example in confidence, business strategy, leadership or sales etc.
  • A coach is more likely to ask questions and challenge you to make essential decisions, whereas a mentor will help to answer your questions. 
  • In a coaching relationship, there are more likely to be specific outcomes and improvement or change in a particular area.  

The above information should help you when deciding on whether a coach or mentor is going to support you best in your business. The answer will depend on what goal you wish to achieve. 

Both types of support are incredibly beneficial to you and your business, helping you to develop yourself personally and providing you with the tools and support you need for growth.

To get the best result from either of these it is essential that the relationship is built on mutual trust and respect for the best results. You may be able to find the support you seek through a friend or colleague, or you could invest in some professional help, much of this will depend on your budget and network.

My top tips when it comes to choosing the right business coach or mentor are:

  • Find someone who  has a track record in the area  you need support
  • Ask for references and social proof that they have done what you are hoping to do
  • Find someone that you respond to and work with well, chemistry and a shared mindset are essential factors when finding the right match.

If you would like to find out more about business coaching and how this can help you achieve your goals in your business, please get in touch with me on tayo@charisplan.com or call 020 7112 7575.


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