The Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring

Have you ever wondered about the difference between coaching and mentoring?

Many people use the words coaching and mentoring interchangeably, as if they’re the same thing.

And while there are many similarities between coaching and mentoring, there are some important differences you should know when looking to hire a coach or mentor.

Here are 3 ways to look at the difference between coaching and mentoring…

Difference #1: Coaching is usually focused on specific outcomes, while mentoring tends to be focused on the whole person.

For example, I really enjoy the game of golf…

But I suck at it.

Every time I’d go to hit the ball, the result would be one shank after another. Pathetic.

So I decided to hire a golf coach to help me improve my game.

My golf coach took one look at my swing and said, “You really need to open up your club face.”

I said, “What’s a club face?”

He said, “That would be the face of the club. Club. Face.”

I said, “Oh. That makes sense.”

He showed me how to change my grip and open my club face, and voila…

The ball actually went in the air!

I almost fainted from amazement!

Then I had several more lessons with my golf coach and dramatically improved both my swing and my golf game.

Now, I would not call this a “mentoring” relationship because I just wanted to improve my swing and hit the damn ball in the air…

However, if I had had the goal of becoming a professional golfer – that’s when I would hire a mentor to help me with that much larger goal.

So one difference between coaching and mentoring is that a coach is typically focused on specific, short-term outcomes – while a mentor is focused on more big-picture, broader objectives.

Difference #2: Coaching is usually a short-term relationship, while a mentoring relationship can last much longer.

To continue my golf analogy, you can see that to improve my golf swing is a short-term, highly focused goal.

While the goal of becoming a professional golfer is a longer-term, larger and potentially life-changing goal.

That’s one reason why a coaching relationship tends to be shorter-term than a mentoring relationship.

For example, a good coach can help me improve my golf game in as little as 30 days of intense focus.

However, to become a pro golfer could easily take years – and would involve having to work on many aspects of my life.

To look at this question of whether you need a coach or mentor, ask yourself questions like:

a. What are my most important short-term goals?

b. What are my most important long-term goals?

c. Who can help me get there faster?

These kinds of questions will help you determine if you need a coach or mentor.

Difference #3: A coach doesn’t have to be great at what they’re coaching, while a mentor is someone who’s highly successful at what you want to do.

There are many examples of great coaches in sports who were not great athletes themselves.

For example, Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells were not great football players. But they are some of the most successful coaches in NFL history.

Phil Jackson was an average basketball player who is generally regarded as the greatest NBA coach of all time.

Butch Harmon won exactly ONE tournament as a professional golfer – but he’s revered as a god among golf coaches.

You get the idea.

However, when people come to me to mentor them, it’s usually in one of 3 areas:

a. How to get rid of your head trash. (I’ve written 10 books on the subject.)

b. How to build a 6- or 7-figure business without being pushy or needy. (I’ve built a 7-figure “work from home” business and have a waiting list of clients who want to work with me.)

c. How to get better results in life and business without “tech overwhelm”. (My business essentially runs on autopilot and gives me the time freedom I always dreamed of.)

Bottom line: Coaching and mentoring are both great.

And having the right coach or the right mentor could mean the difference between success and failure for you…

Because a coach can help you get better, faster results in specific areas of your life or business…

While a mentor is someone who’s where you WANT to be… and can show you how to get there a lot faster than you would by yourself.

P.S. If you’d like to boost your business and increase business income, join me for this FREE Masterclass — because I’ll show you how to get unstuck, find your voice, and get rid of your head trash for good.

It’s true: You CAN be more successful and you CAN have the freedom lifestyle business of your dreams.

I believe in you!

Noah St. John, Author The Book of Afformations®

Founder of Power Habits® Academy

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About Noah St. John

NOAH ST. JOHN is the founder of, an international success training company. Noah helps people make money: Since 2009, Noah’s coaching clients have added more than $2 billion dollars in sales using his methods.

As the #1 bestselling author of 14 books published in 18 languages, Noah is the only author in history to have works published by HarperCollins, Hay House, Simon & Schuster, Mindvalley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher.

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