Published in Issue 11  (August, 2015) of International Coaching News magazine

What’s the reason for asking this question?  It’s simple – the skills that every Coach develops as part of their training can be used by Mentors.  So what makes a Mentor?

In March, 2015 I presented a webinar for the IIC&M where I asked and answered the following questions:

  • As a coach can I be a mentor?
  • As a mentor can I be a coach?
  • What are the differences between coaching and mentoring?

This article will not cover the same depth of ground as the webinar did, but will give you some guidelines.  Members of the IIC&M, of course can watch the webinar.  Please do email me if you have questions.

One of my passions is to help coaches and mentors gain multiple streams of income and I work with coaches and mentors to help them understand how they can use their existing skills, identify what skills they may need to learn, and to help them understand how they can generate more than one stream of income.

I am a Coach and I am a Mentor!  As a member of an accreditation and professional body I have to be very clear about what skills I am using when I’m working with my client(s) – coaching, mentoring, or training.

This is important because often when a client comes to you they don’t know what they want.  Do they want someone who can provide guidance, or do they want someone who will motivate them to find their own answers, or do they just want someone to talk to about their fears and concerns?  Often they do know what they want but they don’t know what it is called.

Take a manager in the corporate world – they’ve often worked their way up through a ladder of promotions and gained huge amounts of knowledge and experience.  This was highlighted to me when a past student of mine highlighted that I knew so much about setting-up and running a business which others don’t know.  I wasn’t aware of it, but in discussion the answers she was looking for, came out.  At that time as a manager in the corporate world, I was aware of how much support I gave my staff and became aware of how I was doing.  This was important because their careers were being guided by me.  I trained as a mentor and was then recognised by the company that employed me as someone who was able to support her staff to such an extent that the level of staff turn-over was hugely reduced in my department, in comparison to other similar departments.

So you ask ‘why did I train as a coach?’  The answer is simple really.  Training as a coach gives you additional skills which are very often not included in mentoring courses.  It gives you the opportunity to truly ‘know nothing’ about the topic of conversation.  By ‘knowing nothing’ you take yourself into a different place when you are working with a client.  It’s motivational for both you and the client.  Can you help them take the next step towards achieving their goal by not giving guidance, suggestion, or support?  As a coach, the answer is ‘yes’.  As a mentor, you are more often encouraged to give guidance, suggestion, or support based on your own knowledge and experience.

coaching-mentoringHow do you know if you can be a coach and/or a mentor?  Your first step is to understand the differences between coaching and mentoring – this table is published by the IIC&M and for me the highlights are:

  • Mentors work in niche markets. The reason for this is that are allowed to use their knowledge and experience in making suggestions, providing guidance, and sharing examples through personal experiences. To do this a mentor must have experience in that particular niche market.
  • Coaches can work with anyone and do not work in niche markets. Coaches cannot make suggestions, provide guidance, or share examples through personal experiences.

So let’s answer the questions I asked:

  • Can a coach be a mentor? Yes. The difference is that as a coach you can work with anyone, whereas as a mentor you will only work with clients in your own niche market.
  • Can a mentor be a coach? Frequently the answer is no. One of the reasons for this is that coaches are taught skills to allow them not to use their own knowledge and experience when they are working with clients.  It does not mean that a mentor can’t learn these skills – they can!

My mentoring niches have come from my career or should I say my seven different careers.  Although as an accountant, coach, mentor, and trainer; with a qualification in all disciplines; I chose my mentoring niche markets because of the interest I have in working there.  My mentoring niches include:

  • Working with coaches and mentors to help them make a success of their businesses through creating multiple streams of income.
  • Professional Development.
  • IT Programme / Project Management.

Now is the time for you to look at your skills and answer these questions:

  • Do you enjoy coaching?
  • If you do – fabulous; but do you want to expand your business to include mentoring?
  • If you do – contact me and I can help you make that transition.

Living the personal and professional life of your dreams
is a journey of self-discovery and achievement!

© Barbara J. Cormack

© 2015 Barbara J. Cormack.  All Rights Reserved.