Mentor or coach?

Confused between mentoring and executive career coaching?

Do you need one or the other? Good question.

One thing is for sure. Navigating your way through your professional world without professional career support can be tough, especially in today’s environment which demands so much more with so much less.

Here’s an easy explanation on the difference between a mentor and an executive career coach.

A quality mentor has experience in a specific career. You aspire to achieve at their level. A mentor helps you figure out how to advance based on their experience. They answer questions and help you find opportunities based on what they know. They focus on you and your career today. They teach you a ‘way of doing’.

A quality executive career coach plays a different role. They help you dig deep, develop your own insights and strengthen your ability to make top-notch decisions with confidence. They help develop your capability, so you become a high performer, just like an elite athlete, musician, performer or surgeon. They use open questioning and help facilitate your thinking. They apply a holistic approach and are future focused. They teach you a ‘way of being’.

I believe we all need mentors. I also believe we all need career coaches.

As Bill Gates once said in a TED Talk: ‘Everyone needs a coach.’ Eric Schmidt, a former CEO of Google, says the best advice he ever got was to get a coach.

One-on-one executive career coaching can be invaluable at any time, but definitely at certain points of your life. Say when you’re:

  • wanting a long-term strategy for career development
  • returning to work and need transition support
  • desperate to achieve that elusive life–career balance
  • having to deal with change and wanting to define your next career chapter
  • starting a new business.

One thing is critical—only choose a qualified and accredited executive coach who follows a set of ethics and invests in their personal development. Not everyone knows it, but coaching is not a regulated industry, so beware.

You can see how ethics are important to me here:

As we near the end of a busy year, take five to check out the range of one-on-one executive coaching options available through Kim Vella Coaching. Then promise you’ll make it happen in 2018.

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