No, although related, they are not the same. Mentoring is holistic, focusing on all aspects of the mentee’s life that can impact performance, satisfaction and motivation i.e. work, career, family, work-life balance. Coaching is specific, aimed at identifying competency gaps and providing information, skills and strategies to close those gaps. While mentoring is led by the mentee, the coach leads coaching.


  • Occurs outside the manager-employee relationship
  • Provides both personal and professional support
  • Focus on career and professional development that may be outside a mentee’s area of work
  • Relationships cross job boundaries
  • Relationships may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program, after which the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship


  • Focuses on developing individuals within their current jobs
  • Is skill-based, arising out of the need to ensure that coachee can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities
  • Relationships tend to be initiated by the coachee’s manager, and driven by the coach
  • Relationships are finite – end as an individual achieves the behavioural goals