Question Detail

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

Nov 13, 2014 10:35am

I see both terms used interchangeably and I really feel they are not the same. Can someone give me a clear definition of the two?

  • Other
  • Pre K-12
  • Coaching


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    • Nov 14, 2014 7:16pm

      I think there are many forms of coaching and mentoring. Since I study instructional coaching, I can tell you our definition is as follows: "An Instructional coach partners with teachers to set student-focussed goals and explains, models, and modifies high-impact teaching strategies teachers implement to hit their goals.”

      • Nov 16, 2014 5:25am

        Instructional coaches also support teachers' learning as they move through complex levels of teaching & learning themselves. Coaches are highly-trained teachers that target a teacher's need / want regarding student teaching & learning. A
        A mentor leads teachers through the basic have-tos associated with being a new teacher. (how to use the Smart Board; staying up with the school calendar; how to manage a learning target, etc)

        • Nov 16, 2014 6:33am

          Thank you both so much. I work with resident teachers (teachers in years one-three) on a TEAMS platform and we combine our official state mentoring program with our coaching program using TEAMS. It is necessary therefore to distinguish between the two roles, and often times I am at a loss as to how to describe the differences of these two very important support roles. Thank you so much for your answers they will go a long way in helping me construct clear role descriptions.thank you!

          • Nov 22, 2014 10:09am

            I agree with Elena. The word that makes the difference between mentor and coach is "intentional." As a coach, my conversations with teachers, though driven BY the teacher, are intentional and my training equips me with the skill to shift a mindset or raise awareness. This requires strategic listening, careful paraphrasing, and elevation of knowledge to build capacity in the teacher.
            Coaches must also be strategic in consulting; listening for the right time to consult - or the invitation from the teacher to do so.

            As a mentor, conversations can be much more relaxed, on the fly, and full of personal stories and connections. Without question, I believe in the need for both people in my life and work!