Tips for Teachers: 14. Coaching and mentoring – which is best for me?

Sep 26, 2023 | Blogs

Tips for Teachers: 14. Coaching and mentoring – which is best for me?

Sep 26, 2023 | Blogs

‘People use the words “mentoring” and “coaching” interchangeably, but they do not describe the same type of working relationship. Both share specific goals including employee learning and career development that leads to peak performance, and the realisation of full potential. However, the definition, focus, role, approach, and tools of each are different.’

Coaching and mentoring both exist for the same purpose: to help others grow, develop and reach their full potential. Both methods give the opportunity for individuals to take responsibility for their own personal and career development. So how do they differ?

What is coaching?

Coaching is both an art and a science that helps to release a person’s potential in order that they can achieve their goals.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “a partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.”

Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is about raising awareness and responsibility – helping them to learn rather than teaching them.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring involves talking with a person. The emphasis is on active listening, providing information, making suggestions, and establishing connections.

Mentoring is usually less formal and more interactive; it tends to be longer term than coaching.

Key elements of coaching:

  • Short term – they are objective driven and structured.
  • Training and upskilling – as opposed to guiding and advising coaching focuses on training and upskilling.

Key elements of mentoring:

  • Long term – mentoring relationships have the potential to last a long period of time.
  • Advise and give guidance – a mentor’s role is to listen, advise and give guidance drawing on their own personal experiences.

It will be for you to identify your current needs to determine whether coaching or mentoring is something you may need or want for this stage of your career in education. You can also read more here:

Don’t forget that Schoolaspect has a number of templates available to assist with your coaching conversations.


This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer. 

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