The role of the coach is to guide a process and ask questions with a focus towards performance. The coach does not need to rely on content and context knowledge in order to achieve the desired outcome. The philosophy of coaching is change in order to achieve optimum performance.
Coaching is an enabling process, achieved through three stages. Stage one is raise awareness, where the coach assists the client to create a vision of their goal, why they want it and how they are going to achieve it. Stage two of the process is generate responsibility, where the coach challenges the client to take action in order to achieve their goal whilst understanding the benefits and consequences involved. The final stage is, facilitate performance.
The coach will support the client in reaching their goal and overcoming the barriers impeding them along the journey.
The role of a mentor is to guide the product and share experiences using both content and context knowledge with the focus of learning. Mentoring is a protected relationship in which learning and experimentation can occur, potential skills can be developed and in which results can be measured in terms of competence gained. Mentoring is generally a supportive process where the mentor will encourage self-management of learning, provide support throughout the process and assist in the evaluation of the outcomes.
The meanings associated with the terms coaching and mentoring have altered over the years and therefore have become somewhat interchangeable in the modern world.
In both circumstances, care must be taken to choose the right person to work with and not to become dependent on each other over a protracted period of time.