Coaches vs. Mentors

Mentoring is an avenue often touted as a way for people to advance in a career or specialty.  While coaching and mentoring are by no means mutually exclusive, there are important differences between the two approaches.

Observers and Activists

Years ago, all investors would look at a company’s financials, review analysts’ reports, conduct analysis, and produce rankings.  After an investment was made, the investor would sit passively and observe as the company performed to expectations or faltered.

In the 1970s, the activist investor emerged.  An activist would take the same analysis but would now target a particular company with an investment of such size to gain influence over management’s decisions; this often took the form of a board of directors seat.

Both observer and active investors play valuable roles in maintaining a market-based economy.

Taking this analogy to your need for external business guidance, the passive investor is akin to a mentor; the activist investor is like a business coach.  While both types have value, a business coach operates directly with a commitment to results and accountability to your needs.