Should I seek a Coach or a Mentor?
Over the years, we have seen a few different views on these two terms. From, ‘they’re both generally the same’ or even ‘usually age plays a part in who a mentor can be’ to ‘a coach steers, a mentor tells’
The truth is, there are many terms out there that people relate to their immediate need, often termed as ‘coach’ like below, and, most people that don’t know the difference think they are the same thing but with a different name!
- Life Coach
- Career Coach
- Mind-set Coach
- Professional Coach
- Business Coach
- Sports Coach
- Fitness Coach
The bottom line is, they’re all ‘coaches’ that coach you in something to achieve your goals, to reach your objectives, to even help you determine what your objectives might be.
For us at Your Vocation, we believe that a coach, put simply, works with your mind.
Everything begins in our mind, an idea, a fear, a negative perception, a desire, they all begin in our heads sparked by something we have seen, experienced or heard. Until you understand that fact and you seek and act to understand your mind and truly understand yourself in terms of how you tick, you are likely to struggle to progress on your journey to success. Our company tag lines run concurrently in support of this statement as follows;
‘Understanding YOU is YOUR first major step on your road to success’ and at Your Vocation, we help you to ‘Switch on to Your Vocation’
That said, at Your Vocation, we name ourselves ‘Mind-set Coach’ as we are focussing on helping you to understand yourself, make sound, defined decisions based on your needs related to what we find out together about you.
So what is ‘Mind-set Coaching’ and is it going to help me?
Well that depends, frankly, on you. Firstly, ask yourself this question;
- Am I ‘Coachable’ (you may have never heard the term before?!)
Being ‘Coachable’ is about being able to accept feedback, positive, constructive and flat rate negative feedback and to have an ability to take that feedback and see it as a gift, as an opportunity for you to reflect, discuss, plan, action, move forward and be even better than you were before you heard that feedback. You are an open book and ready to grow, you are NOT a closed book and looking for excuses as to why things may not be working out how you want. You ‘own’ and take responsibility, you do not point the finger of blame or shrug off failings as another person’s fault.
Being ‘coachable’ requires you to be open, willing, honest, true to yourself, accepting, motivated, driven, to take action and to reflect regularly in order to positively push yourself toward your success, whatever that may look like.
You must also be willing to ‘get uncomfortable’ and to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and regularly! To be consistent in your approach and to remain relentlessly persistent of improving and reaching your goals and all while trusting your coach to push you to get there.
We will come on to why a coach differs to a mentor shortly but the above finishes nicely to bring us on to what a coach will do for you, what a ‘Your Vocation’ coach will do for you.
Simply put, we engage you on and off topic to build a relationship, an honest, trusting and authentic relationship. It is the only way to begin the relationship to truly begin to understand people, in order to help them.
You may wonder why we would bother, and to be blunt in answer, we thrive on helping people achieve. It is great to witness and great to be a part of seeing another person achieve.
Sure, we will not lie, we have to earn our keep but we do so in a role that we truly enjoy. Who wouldn’t want a role that paid the bills that they loved right?!
We also get to build our networks and end up with many more friends, colleagues and clients too. It is the quality of our service that will deliver to you and these things to us.
In such engagement, we listen intently to everything that you say. We know what open questions to pose and when to ask them, when to apply pressure, when to speak and when to remain silent. When to put you under pressure and how to hold you to account on your actions. We understand that reflection is awesome, continual improvement is inevitable and documenting is key. We know because we have been there and worn the T-Shirt!
The benefits therefore of a professional Mind-set Coach, depending on your buy in and response to that coach, may include the following;
- Increased confidence
- Improved self-esteem
- Improved ability to trust self and others
- Recognition of own transferrable or key skills
- Understanding your worth
- Knowing that you can and that can’t (like our parents told us when we were small!) isn’t a word known to us
- Support throughout difficult challenges
- Scheduled meetings to discuss planned points
- A kick to ensure you take the action and reap the reward of doing so
- Administration of minutes and action points agreed
- A fresh perspective and pair of eyes
- A different outlook to your own
- Someone who has experienced plenty that can offer advice when the going is really tough
- A listening ear
- An emergency contact for those times it is just all too much or for when you think it has gone wrong
- A push to secure a promotion
- How to increase your profile
- Improved salary
…and our list could go on!
How does a mentor differ to the coach above?
Largely, not in a huge way. If anything, you still get the entire above but with the added direct subject matter expertise or distinctive life experience that you may need to support you to deal with very specific situations. To help you leap the hurdles you know you face but that you just do not know how to tackle.
The mentor imparts direct guidance, advice or even tells you what to do, to positively progress. They provide this element alongside all of the coaches attributes already discussed.
Sure, some people say ‘well, a mentor is usually older and deemed to be wiser than I’, OK, one way of looking at it and can be true in certain circumstances. However, we also believe in reverse mentoring where a younger person can tell/show us peeps that are more senior! a thing or two!
The bottom line is, everyone has skills and something to share with the next person. We all face challenges, many of them similar to the next, the difference being, we all have different perspectives and ways of dealing with things.
So in short, a mentor or a coach is going to build you up and significantly enhance your tool kit.
Take a look at the services descriptions upon our home page here: https://www.yourvocation.co.uk to further assist you in understanding the difference.
If you need specific, situational SME experience that can directly guide, advise or even tell you what to do, you need mentoring services.
If you long for a good listener, someone to challenge you through query and to hold you to account for taking action, so that you can calmly explore your own possibilities and determine your own courses of action in order to reach your goals. Alternatively, if you need to improve your emotional intelligence, your understanding of yourself and improve more specific personal traits, obtain a coach.
Sometimes, just a 10-15 minute free consultation will help you determine whether to take action or not. Most people do, as they see that the investment is only going to see them progress and grow in a positive way helping them to achieve more than they thought possible prior to the conversation.