What Is the Difference Between a Business Coach and a Mentor?

What Is the Difference Between a Business Coach and a Mentor?


  • Running a small business can be lonely if you don’t have a personal and professional support network around you.
  • Investing in a small business mentor or coach can be the difference between a good business and a great business.
  • Is there much difference between a business coach and a mentor? We break down the differences to help you decide which service is best for you.





Running a small business can be lonely if you don’t have a personal and professional support network around you. Seeking out a mentor or participating in some 1-on-1 coaching can be the difference between a good business and a great business.

Why Coaching and Mentoring Is Important 

A decision to invest in a coaching or mentoring program empowers individuals through deeper self-awareness of individual characteristics, competencies and values that underlie individual approaches to work, leadership, and interaction with others in the workplace.

Business owners who recognise the need for learning and a different perspective open themselves and their business to greater opportunities for success. The first step is to understand what the opportunity is and how to get there.

What Is the Difference Between Business Coaching and Mentoring?

Studies show organisations with strong leadership are 13 times more likely to outperform their competition, and three times more likely to retain their most talented employees (Peter Berry Consulting). In small to medium businesses, strategies such as coaching and mentoring are vital to ensure success in the foundational stages of running an organisation.

What Is Coaching?

Coaching can be a short term solution to focus on key issues a business owner might be facing; it’s performance driven. Coaching is task focussed working through strategies to identify challenges, seek opportunities and resolve any issues. However, coaching can often be misconceived as only a short term solution whereas it can have a lasting impact on business owners and the way they continue their business journey.

What Is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a longer term commitment focussed on developing the mentee holistically targeting both personal and professional qualities. Mentoring can be both formal and informal which can determine the lasting impact of the process. Business owners looking to create lasting connections with key industry leaders might benefit from a longer term mentoring program where they can gain insights specific to their business. If business owners are looking to operate a mentoring program within their organisation, they may want to consider customisable digital platforms that offer the opportunity for staff to connect.

Business Mentoring vs Business Coaching

Here is a comparison of factors to help you decide whether to choose a business mentor or coach:

Coaching vs Mentoring - Which Works Best For Small Business Owners?

How to Choose the Right Mentor or Coach for Your Small Business

Every coach is and brings different things to the table. These are the most important things to consider to ensure you choose a mentor or coach that aligns with you and your business.

1. Agree on your purpose

Are you both there for the right reasons? In a less formal mentoring program, the purpose may not be as defined as that of a rigorous coaching program. When first engaging a mentor or coach, ensure they understand your objectives and reasons for undertaking the program.

2. Ensure your values are aligned

That’s not to say you shouldn’t engage with people who do not have the same values or perspectives as you. Opening our mind to different viewpoints is a crucial part of becoming a dynamic entrepreneur or business owner. However, within a mentoring or coaching program, you may be looking for someone who is going to understand who you are and how your purpose aligns with your business. Seeking out someone you respect and admire for an initial chat can be a great way to begin the process.

3. Establish expectations early

This can be a simple question of logistics. Draft up a one-page document of what you expect from your mentor or coach. This can be a combination of the time commitment, agreed outcomes and desired learning topics. This may be more appropriate for a mentoring program as coaching programs tend to have more structure.

Coaching and mentoring can be an incredibly valuable experience for both new and experienced business owners. Equipping yourself with the knowledge and benefits of each program is important to suit the needs of the individual.

Jeromine Alpe

Founder and CEO at

Entrepreneur Executive Thought Leader with a career spanning over 25 years, as Founder, CEO, HR Director, Executive Coach and Business Mentor. Jeromine is using her experience and expertise as a catalyst to empower female excellence for gender equity, inclusion, diversity, happiness and peak performance.

Comments (2)
Vidhya Vidhu

Vidhya Vidhu

Thats exactly depends on how your business is and how it works and also the stage of your business. In short, Mentoring is a long term informal process in association with mentee whereas coaching is a short term process with formal procedure. For more info visit Business Mentor for Startups

Justine Garcia

Justine Garcia, Community Manager at

In coaching it is task oriented and it shares how to work accurately and strategically. While on the other hand mentoring is making your mentoree at ease to make them feel comfortable and confident to give their best when working to achieve growth and success in the long run.