Do Your Employees Need Coaching or Mentoring?

Do Your Employees Need Coaching or Mentoring?

Is there really that big of a difference between coaching and mentoring? Some say no and some say yes. The truth is that these two terms apply to two significantly different techniques, and every leader should be conscious of the differences.




The process of coaching is essential for any leader to utilize if they hope to inspire their team to do their best work. When strong coaching tactics are employed by those in leadership positions, employee work improves as individuals become more motivated for success. Without coaching processes in place, it is common for employees to stick to the basics and do the smallest amount of work necessary to just get the job done. These unmotivated and uninspired team members tend to just go through the motions.


Companies should aim to incorporate positive coaching processes for their employees, as results will improve and your organization will truly thrive. Employees that are encouraged to perform at their maximum potential boost profits for their company, and end up feeling more satisfied with the work that they put in. If some team members get by with a small amount of effort, the strongest employees begin to question whether or not their extra effort is even beneficial.


Ultimately, the goal of coaching is to inspire everyone to do their best work. A great coach will energize their team and spark a desire to achieve results that go above and beyond expectations. Coaching should help everyone in an organization realize their true potential.


How do leaders successfully coach their teams?


We now understand the purpose of coaching, and what leaders strive to achieve through powerful coaching techniques. Now, it is crucial to understand how to implement practices as a coach that achieve these desired goals.


Leaders that are looking to improve their coaching skills should start by working on reinforcing good habits and helping their employees part ways with bad habits. A big piece of the puzzle here is encouraging employees to examine their own work and focus on improving themselves and the areas that they believe need work. In order to successfully encourage this type of self-improvement in the workplace, you must look at what motivates them and understand what makes them tick. If you can get a strong idea of their potential and how they as an individual can reach it, you can help encourage them through the process.


Coaching is constant and needs to be steady and habitual. Don’t just step in as a coach when there are problems, play the role of coach during both good times and bad. This steady coaching process will inspire employees over time, as it demonstrates your level of commitment to their professional and personal success.




The role of a mentor is to pass on the knowledge and experience that you have gained over years of experience. This makes mentorship much more personal to the mentor, as communicating and sharing your lived experience is the goal. The mentee should be in a position to learn best practices and good habits in a personal context. Mentoring is very effective in certain situations; however, its purpose is not necessarily to put the power in the hands of the employee in order to inspire self-improvement.


If you're mentoring a newly promoted manager, using your own personal managerial experiences can help paint the picture of scenarios that the mentee might encounter along their career. Being that these experiences are personal to you, it is likely that the mentee will have different lessons that they need to learn. These lessons will take place on the job, as they hone their own management style along the way. The experiences that you shared will serve as a decent starting point for the mentee’s personal journey.


When leaders prioritize mentoring over coaching, they run the risk of creating a need for micromanagement as opposed to encouraging their employees to create their own unique path. The goal is not to force your employees to take the path that you happened to take, as this is not very effective. Coaching will inspire your employees to become their own leaders without the need for your oversight every step of the way.


Whether utilizing coaching or mentoring tactics, the desired result should be an inspired employee. Both tactics are beneficial in their own way, as long as you know when and how to incorporate them into your leadership processes. Mentoring helps demonstrate to employees what to do in specific situations, and how to go about doing it. Coaching demonstrates to employees why something should be done and inspires them to find their own way through the process in order to seek success.


All in all, if you're taking the time to read this, you're dedicated to providing the best work experience possible for your employees. Which is more than some can say. Providing direction is important, however, knowing which kind of direction to provide is even more critical. Hopefully you know now what type of motivation to provide to your employees in different situations.