In the modern world of education, it is not only the teacher from whom the students learn. We can also say that a teacher has to play different roles and relationships to teach the student. Teaching, coaching, mentoring and counseling all go hand in hand and at times seem to be similar. There is a thin line of differentiation between all these methods. In this article, we will discuss the difference between coaching and mentoring.


Coaching is a formal approach to teaching which aims at specializing in a particular skill or mastering a task. The coach must be specialist of the particular skill or task to be taught. Coaching is usually of a fixed short duration.


Mentoring is an informal approach of teaching which uses teaching, coaching or even counseling in the process of mentoring as and when required. Mentoring aims at the development of the learner and a mentor is a more experienced person sharing his experiences and knowledge on a mutual consent. Mentoring believes in building relationships and thus takes a longer duration of time.


If we look at coaching and mentoring from the surface level both seem to be one and the same, but if we take time to dive deep we can figure out the minute difference between the two approaches. Let us demarcate the thin line of difference between the coaching and mentoring on the following basis of comparison:


Coaching is always a task or skill oriented. The coach aims at developing a new skill or mastering a task by the learner. The coach already is a master of that particular skill and observes the learner at some task or skills and coaches in such a manner that at the end the learner becomes the master of that skill or task.

Mentoring is on the other hand relationship oriented and aims at developing and maintaining a relationship with the mentee. Mentor always works in the direction of development of the mentee at all levels including psychological. The mentee shares all the obstacles and hindrance with the mentor and the mentor makes sure that the mentee learns to balance work life, harmony, self-confidence and positive perception towards life.


Coaching focuses on the performance of the learner and acquiring new skills and habits. The coach coaches certain skills and tasks and monitors the performance of the learner throughout at each step to ensure the mastery of that skill or task at the end.

Mentoring focuses on the development and learning of the learner. Mentor focus on creating the capability and improving it not only for the present role but also to deal with future circumstances.


There is a difference between coaching and mentoring in their duration also. Coaching is of some fixed short duration. The coach has a fixed duration to achieve the set goal and teach the learner the required skill or task.

Mentoring as aims at building relations and trust takes the much longer duration of time. A mentor slowly and gradually builds a strong foundation of human relations where the mentee can unveil all the personal and professional challenges.


Coaching and mentoring can be differentiated at the planning phase as well. For coaching, no such planning and designing model is required. Coaching can be given on any topic at any given instant. A coaching program can be implemented as and when required without much planning and designing.

Mentoring, on the other hand, requires proper planning and mentoring models to work towards the focus areas of the relationship and the specific components of that relationship.

5. TYPE:

Coaching is a formal approach to teaching and learning process. It is a structured system where meetings are fixed at an equal and regular interval of time.

Mentoring is an informal approach to the learning process which is unstructured in its nature. The meetings can be arranged as and when required by the mentee.


The coach needs to be specialized in the specific task or skill to be mastered at by the learner. A coach can be or cannot be elder to the learner.

A mentor is always an elderly and more qualified person than the mentee. The mentor shares his experiences and learning with the mentee and opens the doors of wisdom for him.


In the process of coaching the coach asks thought to provoke questions and makes the learner develop the decision-making ability and learn new skills.

Mentoring totally differs from coaching in this respect and here the mentee asks several questions from the mentor to dive deep into his experience and learn life skills from his experiences.


Coaching results in measurable and specific outcomes. The learner develops particular skills and tasks at the end of the session.

Mentoring may or may not show such measurable results and specific outcomes as it aims at the overall development of the learner.

Though minute, there are differences between coaching and mentoring process. In order to learn a particular skill or task we should choose a coach and if we want to learn the life skills we should find a mentor for ourselves. Identify and examine the situation and choose wisely between coaching and mentoring. Happy learning is it coaching or mentoring.

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