FAQ: Coaching V. Mentoring—Which is for you?

FAQ: Coaching V. Mentoring—Which is for you?

Q1: What is the difference between mentoring and coaching?


Mentoring is a time where the mentor guides the mentee with advice or learnings that are personal to the mentor’s experience.  Many times, it results in anecdotes that have relevance to the mentee, and places them on a path toward success based on the mentor’s best practices, experiences or even insights gleaned from their own mentors.

Coaching is a forum where the coach pulls the answers from the client, through systematic discovery in order to uncover challenges or issues that may be holding the client back from achieving success in any given area.  It does not seek anecdotes or the experiences of the coach, however, based on the exploratory conversation, the coach is able to drive the client to actionable behaviors that will support the client’s success.


Q2: Are your coaching offerings structured the same way as your mentoring options?


A2: No.  Coaching sessions follow a process, according to the  the International Coaches Federation (ICF) Core Competencies as taught by ICF-accredited CaPP Institute which applies positive psychology tenants to the professional coaching practice. It is where the coach partners with clients in a thought-provoking, creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The aim is to move the client forward toward their goals while fostering ideals of resilience, happiness and positivity.  These sessions require more time, generally an hour weekly or bi-weekly, and are offered in packages of at least 6 weeks.

The #30MM mentoring consults can be reserved a-la-carte, in other words “pay as you go” or one & done, or they can be offered through the Cohort program, which happens twice a year and involves other mentees in a classic “mentoring circle” fashion.  Finally, the #30MM offers 30 minute masterclasses for up to 100 people through a webinar platform.  While all sessions are goal-oriented, the curriculum is based sole on the mentor’s experience and learnings so that mentees can apply tenants to their career or entreprenuerial journey.  These sessions do not delve deeply enough to identify and articulate challenges to move toward ongoing personal results.


Q3: Can I sign up for mentoring or coaching instead of hiring a consultant?

A3:  Neither mentoring nor coaching deliver the same outcome as consulting.  Consulting delivers a product at the end of the engagement.  If you are in need of consulting or training (which is synonymous with teaching)  please request consulting services, and we’ll recommend an approach that is right for you or your business. Also note that coaching can inform your decision to hire consultative services.


Q4: Is coaching a form of counseling?

A4: No. Coaching is not counseling or therapy.


Q5: Why do you charge a fee for mentoring?

A5: The #30MM program ascribes to the philosophy that mentoring happens when the mentor has buy and knowledge of the work of the mentee, and there is a mutual agreement to pursue that kind of relationship.  That is nearly impossible to achieve with someone the mentor does not know.  Because I receive requests for mentoring or advice from people I do not know, I offer my time and insight as a paid service.


Q6: What makes a coaching relationship a professional one?

A6: A coaching relationship that is professional includes a business agreement or a contract that defines the responsibilities of each party, according to The CaPP Institute.


Q7: What is positive psychology?

A7: According to the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, Positive Psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning.  It aims to discover and promote factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.


Q8:  What if I’m in the mentoring program and want to take advantage of coaching services?

A8. It is possible to move from the #30MM program to a formal coaching relationship.  Send a request to coaching@lmichellesmith.com, and someone will contact you to assess your needs and draw up intake documents.

Q9:  Where are coaching sessions hosted?

A9. Most coaching sessions are hosted via video conference, but I will work to accommodate your needs.  Teleconference is also an option, although it is preferred to have face-to-face meetings.  In-person meetings can be arranged for local clients, if it is desired and merited, either on site, or at the coach’s office.

Q10:  What is required of me as a coaching client?

A10. It is important that we enter into a formal contract with the client that will outline expectations for a successful partnership.  Your coach will assign tasks to help you achieve your goals.  Those assignments must be completed on time as expected.  Your timeliness is also important for all sessions, as well as your full attention.  In many cases, your coach will ask you to have a journal on hand as you take the journey. Your coach will assign assessments and reading for your sessions; these are important for context and reaching your goals since every program is tailored to your specific needs.

Q11:  Can non-profits take advantage of this service?

A11. Yes.  If you have a non-profit organization that wants to provide coaching services to your clientele, we can discuss an arrangement that will work for you.


Q12:  Is your coaching for individuals, groups or organizations?

A12. We have coaching services to meet the needs for all three scenarios and more.  Drop a note to coaching@lmichellesmith.com if you have a related request.

For more information on mentoring services, visit The30MinuteMentor.com.  For more on executive and business coaching, click here.

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