July 21, 2017

Coaching vs Mentoring vs Retainer

Here’s a thread from my private Slack room about the difference between coaching, mentoring, and retainer programs:

I was wondering why you started using the word mentoring vs coaching. Do you see a difference in how people perceive this?

The difference between mentoring and coaching is that mentoring interactions are student initiated.

Coaching is more proactive on the part of the coach. Regularly scheduled recurring meetings, step by step instructions.

In terms of content, mentoring is generally more strategic, coaching is more tactical.

How does mentoring differ from a retainer?

They differ in the nature of the content and relationship. I mentor folks who are on the same path I’m on, they’re just not as far along. My retainer clients are in a completely different business to me.

In practice, the interaction model is basically the same. But the relationship dynamics and value proposition are different enough to warrant distinct naming.



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