At Kitcatt Nohr we’ve been running our mentoring programme for about a year now. We don’t have masses of mentors and mentees; after all mentoring is neither needed nor suitable for everyone, and the time commitment for both parties is significant. But for those who take part it’s been both effective and satisfying - mentoring can bring as much satisfaction and development for mentors as for mentees.
I got round to writing some guidelines for participants the other day, and rummaging around the net for inspiration was struck by how much twaddle is talked about the subject and how strenuously people seek to differentiate coaching from mentoring. Yet everyone’s definition of the difference is different.
I have come to the conclusion that it does not really matter. Coaching and mentoring are different but they are also “spectrum disorders” rather than binary conditions. Most agree that in its purest form mentoring is about guidance, wisdom, provocation and knowledge/experience sharing. At the other extreme coaching can be very task specific, highly goal oriented and imposed rather than self-selected. But there is no fault line to separate the two. What both have in common is the desire to let people find their own paths to success, give them the confidence to jump out of their comfort zones and become the people they didn’t quite believe they could be. If we can go some way towards those goals then I don’t care what we call it, but I do know it will be something to be proud of.
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