business coaching vs mentoring

The difficulties that ambitious entrepreneurs face can be avoided, or at least alleviated, with the assistance and guidance of an experienced professional. Business coaches and business mentors are the formal go-to for entrepreneurs seeking the help they need, and each professional offers varying benefits.

There are key differences between business coaches and mentors to consider before choosing which professional will be best in propelling a career forward.


What is a Business Coach?

A business coach is typically a hired individual who knows the ins and outs of the business trade.

It is recommended that fledgling businessmen look for coaches who are certified and specialized, although coaches are not required to be either. A business coach who is not an expert in a particular field may still be beneficial, albeit limited.

A specialized business coach who is also certified should understand all there is to know about the business venture that one is pursuing.

For example, an individual wanting to open up a restaurant will want to hire a coach who specializes in the restaurant trade. They will not only know which hoops to jump through during the licensing process, but they will also be proficient in developmental and marketing strategies for successful business in that particular field.

A business coach can also be beneficial if the individual only needs guidance on specific topics such as creating a business model or finding a niche. Continuing with the example, the restaurant owner might need assistance in researching how to draw in customers or strategize on pricing, creating a restaurant atmosphere, or other precise details.

A business coach does not necessarily benefit just the entrepreneur themselves, but also a business’ employees. In certain cases, a business coach will work closely with the management of companies, corporations or organizations in the training and improvement of employees.

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What is a Business Mentor?

A business mentor is debatably more involved than a coach. Since coaches are often specialized and hired for specific tasks, establishing a relationship with a coach is not as likely as establishing one with a mentor.

A mentor is typically a professional who might also be specialist but is an expert in their field through first-hand experience.

A mentor benefits the individual looking to build a relationship and receive consistent guidance from start to finish when developing a new business.

Mentors can help entrepreneurs grow on a more personal level. They will not only offer advice in the planning and implementation of building a business, but can share from their experience how to balance the stresses that come with being a professional with the stressors of every day life.

Mentoring is meant to be long term in order to develop the relationship necessary to create a relaxed atmosphere and a steady bond between mentor and the one being mentored. A mentor should be concerned with the growth of the business as well as the personal growth its employees, management, and the employer themselves.



Deciding Which is Best

A business coach is best for entrepreneurs who have specific objectives in mind that benefit from professional expertise. They will set up strategies on how to achieve the decided objective and will remain in contact to assure that deadlines are being met. In some cases, the approach can be more rigorous and is often more impersonal than an experience with a mentor.

A properly certified coach will have access to the necessary resources and knowledge needed to move forward. For businessmen looking for assistance on getting started, a business coach could be the way to go. For fledglings desiring the commitment and connection of a general overseer, mentorship is the proper route to take.

In many cases, business coaches are experts trained to help you succeed and keep you on track as you pursue your goals. Business mentors are your average Joes who did succeed at their own trade and have experienced first hand the pitfalls and the rewards of enterprise.

For a basic breakdown of the differences between business coaching and mentoring, click here.

The International Coach Federation (ICF), is a great source for discovering professional coaches. See the list of accredited schools here.