Business coach or business mentor: What’s the difference?
So, you’re thinking about hiring a business coach…oops, I mean mentor, to help you in your bookkeeping business? Which one? It can be a little confusing as to what is the difference between business coaching, training and mentoring. There are also a lot of different views and opinions. Who’s right? I honestly don’t think it really matters; it’s easy to get caught up in that. Here’s my definition; hope it helps.
This brief summary will help you decide what is right for you at a particular time or stage of your business development. I’ve added training into the mix too, as I think it’s important to understand what training is in order to be able to see the contrast.
MENTORING – The support and guidance you’re looking for
The primary focus of mentoring is that it’s led by you, and it’s all about support
During a mentoring session, you direct the conversation. You mentor is someone who is at least one step ahead of you and can encourage you in many ways. A mentor can help you to see your blind spots that may be holding you back, give you encouragement and help draw out great ideas that may be stored up inside you.
For me personally, it’s about giving you the language you need to articulate the things in your head. And it’s also about showing you “how I did it” and allowing you to decide if that’s right for you.
TRAINING – The skills and knowledge you need to reach your goals
The primary focus of training is that it’s led by the trainer, and it’s all about learning and putting it into action
During a training session, your trainer directs the lessons. Your trainer is someone who is more experienced than you and has knowledge that you would benefit from. A trainer can provide you with information to improve your understanding, and a step-by-step plan to follow to reach your goals.
For me personally, it’s about showing you the “how to” and giving you the theories behind “why” you would do something a particular way. And then from there, it’s about practising it.
COACHING – The accountability you need to overcome obstacles and to stick with it
Coaching sits somewhere in the middle – between mentoring and training, and is a peer-to-peer relationship that is equal
During a coaching session, your coach will look at your plan and see how you have been following it, and where you are getting stuck. Your coach is may or may not be more experienced than you, but it’s all about following the plan and helping you stick to it. A coach can provide you with accountability, correction and motivation to follow your step-by-step plan so you can reach your goals. They can also help you to see barriers that may be getting in the way.
As you can see, mentoring, coaching and training are different. But they are often interrelated and connected. You may need one now, and another later. Perhaps one is really standing out to you right now as being more relevant or needed. If you are reading this and thinking “yes, I would like to find out more about working with a mentor or coach” then next question you will need to answer may be “what area do I need assistance in?” and “is Amy Hooke the right one for me?”
Everyone is different, and depending on your personality and goals, you and I may or may not be a good match. Also, you will need to consider what that mentor, coach or trainer specialises in.
I currently run a mentoring program Savvy Business Planning Mentorship, which is really a blend of all three.
Then you need to keep in mind the specialisation of the mentor. For example; I specialise in business planning, pricing, marketing, sales and branding. So if you’re looking for a mentor who can help you with the following then I’m definitely not the right person;
- HR and management
- Streamlining your bookkeeping processes
- Improving your bookkeeping skills (I can help with this but I prefer to focus on the business side of things)
- Improving your software skills (I do a bit of this but it’s always in connection to other topics that I offer)
But if you are looking at any of the following then you definitely need to get in touch;
- business plan writing and development
- pricing your packages
- brand development including getting clear about your business mission, vision and values statement
- choosing a business name
- website development
- finding new clients
- branding your documents
- understanding or improving your marketing, sales or on-boarding process
See you soon. Stay savvy.
P.S. I’ve put together a few resources to help you. A “stress test” you can take to see how stressed you are and how that could be affecting your work performance or putting you at risk of serious health issues. A business plan template to help you to do things in the right order. If you have any questions join The Savvy Bookkeeper Facebook Group.