Mentoring and Coaching- Which do I need?

Posted by Brenda Yoho

The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

Steven Spielberg

I love the quote by Steven Spielberg. Mentoring is so meaningful and is so rewarding for those involved. As mentoring begins, it is a foundation built on trust, honesty, authenticity, and raw, real stuff.

The best mentors listen carefully and hear what is not said to shine the light on what is not seen. Hope, talent, strength, and courage are hidden in the layers of doubt, uncertainty, and fear.

Mentors create opportunities to tell, explain, and demonstrate, but most importantly, inspire those they work with to see what they can be. It is about guidance and facilitation of development.


Coaching is a broad term today and is found in many areas and professions. We are coaching in sports, as coaches work with teams to capture titles in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, tennis, and so much more. We see coaching in our personal lives as we may have life coaches to help us with emotional, nutrition or physical needs. In addition, we have coaching for child delivery in finding the best ways to bring our child into the world.

Today coaching is part of what we do to help everyone grow and to be better than they are today.

“A coach is someone who (1) sees what others may not see through the high quality of his or her attention or listening, (2) is in the position to step back (or invite participants to step back) from the situation so that they have enough distance from it to get some perspective, (3) helps people see the difference between their intentions and their thinking or actions, and (4) helps people cut through patterns of illusion and self-deception caused by defensive thinking and behavior.”~Robert Hargrove, author of Masterful Coaching


What Adults need

Mentoring or Coaching adults need a different approach to learning. Building a relationship is the first step, and the next step in the relationship is built on trust. In addition, trust is essential in the relationship, but also having permission.

  • Adults will commit to learning when they believe it is vital for their personal and professional needs.
  • They need to see and know their objectives are realistic.
  • Adults want a voice in their learning. All of the questions (what, who, when, how, where, and why)
  • Learning experiences need to be direct and something they can apply to what they are doing. (Example: If you are demonstrating a lesson by modeling-give them all of the supplies, they need to do it as well and take them back to the classroom to do it)
  • Adult learners need follow-up to learning and support. Things are not automatically transferred.
  • Feedback-Adult learners need direct feedback on the work they are doing.
  • Remember, adult learners already come to the table with lots of experiences, knowledge, interests, strengths, and some weaknesses. The goal is to enhance, embrace and engage.

A coach brings continuing support to the individual. It is a safe and confidential relationship of trust to nurture significant growth in the areas of personal and professional. In addition, the building of a strong foundation of skills to support the organization to meet the needs set to achieve success.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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