Developing and expanding your professional abilities is one of the most proven ways to increase performance. Whether you’re looking to understand a new business concept you’re interested in, or you’re trying to balance your home and work lives more effectively, professional development is the key to getting there. Most often when thinking about professional development, a plan of bringing in experienced and proven mentors and coaches comes to mind. Although many people use the two terms interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between coaching and mentoring, and they can affect our growth in different ways.

How Coaches Help Us

Coaching is a powerful tool that can help improve various aspects of you and your company’s performance. You can learn to use your time more efficiently, or even acquire an entirely new set of valuable skills. Coaches are beneficial when:
• You want to improve a specific, measurable issue
• The purpose for coaching is work-based
• You desire to learn a skill
Coaches will be very objective focused in helping you learn the skills or responsibilities that you need to understand in order to take your business to the next level. A common goal that both you and your coach share is to get your up to speed proficiently in as a little time as possible. Because of this, they will often bring a strict development plan that is proven to encourage the best results.

The Role of Mentors

Mentors are a long-term strategy plan that can also help grow and develop you and your business. Rather than focusing on specific, outlined processes, mentoring promotes self-development and relationship-based growth. Mentors take the time to develop a strong working relationship with the business leaders they mentor in order to create an open air about any problems that is inhibiting their professional progress.

During mentoring sessions, your mentor could encourage you to discuss any areas of your life, both professional and personal, that may be hindering your development. Common topics of conversation include:
• How you perceive yourself
• Your level of self-confidence
• How your personal life impacts your work life
All-in-all, the goals of a mentor are focused around general growth through development as opposed to growth in a specific area.

The Importance of Both

The hopeful outcome of both coaching and mentoring is positive, professional growth. While both processes share a similar goal, they take different avenues to get there. If you’re looking to enhance your company, as well as yourself, it’s important to take any opportunity you have to become a better businessperson.

Mentors can help you determine which area of your life needs focus on in order to become more proficient, and coaching can help you get yourself to where you want to be. An ideal plan would include both inspirational mentoring and effective coaching.

In order to grow your company, you need to grow yourself and your skills. Coaches and mentors offer totally different approaches to the same end goal – to maximize your growth and development. Through a balanced combination of long-term mentoring and goal-focus coaching, you make great advances in professional development.

Author's Bio: 

Tracey Fieber helps business owners simplify, automate, and grow their businesses and their lives. She believes in the power of hiring the right people, and helps her clients cultivate highly effective teams that allow them to focus on the work about which they're passionate. By nurturing business owners' strengths and holding them accountable for their own success, Tracey's leadership, communication, and coaching techniques help her clients take massive leaps forward.

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