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How do coaching, mentoring and counselling differ?

07 September 2020

A guest post by Andry Anastasiou, Executive Coach, Learning Consultant and Author

Coaching, mentoring and counselling are all types of supportive processes to help you move forward or achieve your goals at work or in life. They all involve using different types of conversations.

What is coaching and mentoring?

A coach assumes the coachee is the expert in the conversation. The coach co-creates a focused listening space where you the coachee can uncover your own solutions.

A mentor has expertise to share in each conversation. They are the expert, helping to guide you with some ideas of what has worked and might work for you. This has some overlap with a manager sharing expertise.

A manager as coach practices coaching skills in management conversation. They see their direct report as an expert. They step away from being the mentor/expert themselves.

Both mentoring and coaching use non-judgemental deep listening and open questions.

What is counselling?

As for counselling. Well that ‘s interesting – great for times of stress and challenge. So more of a ‘problem focused ‘ model. In other words you can use counselling when you are feeling like something isn’t working, or is a challenge or problem.

But coaching and mentoring you generally use even when things are going well e.g. you are enjoying your job or project and its going well, but you have a new responsibility you want to learn to handle.

Taking action and reflecting

You can go to counselling and not be asked to take any action between sessions – so it can be a reflective journey only. You can pretty much guarantee a coach or mentor (or manager as coach) will ask you what actions you will take as a result of the conversation. So the action-reflection cycle is a coaching, manager as coach and mentoring way of working.

The past, present and future

Finally counselling often deals with the long term past e.g teenage years. Instead both coaching and mentoring (and manager as coach) focus more on the recent past, present and future.

We are delighted that Andry will be delivering an online Masterclass for us on ‘The Manager as a Coach’ on 10 November. For more information click here.

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