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Coaches are good. Mentors are better.

I have no intent to shake tables or cause any argument here. Naah, what would i gain from that? What I am about to explain to you is my experience. So you are safe to say, “it is just her experience and nothing more.” Everyone talks from experience anyway.

I am about to explain to you why you should seek out a mentor rather than a coach for your success.

It was in 2015 most of my friends caught the “coaching buzz” and by 2016 everyone had ‘coach’ attached to their names. Lol. You are qualified to put this prefix once you attend a one-hour masterclass. You are free to coach anyone that asks you any question whatsoever.

I will not even lie. I was once a coach. Hehehehe. I had to delete that after a while. It didn’t just resonate with me.

Not that I did not qualify for the experience I offered to people but I felt the relationship was too short to really make enough meaning for me and a number of other things I will share with you.

Now, don’t get me wrong coaching is good but we have very few qualified coaches out there. Everyone is forming coach of some sort.

If you have a good coach. I am happy for you but in this new year, I would want you to even go for something deeper.

A mentoring relationship.

Find a mentor and thank me by year end. No, thank me before year end. Lol.

Blogs and Start-ups have popularized coaching because coaching fetches more money than mentoring. In many cases, mentoring do not have any form of financial gain.

A friend of mine argued that coaching cuts across all age range while mentoring is for the younger generation.

This is so far from the truth. Mentoring is not just for new recruits or young professionals though these set of people may need it most but even those who are advanced in age need mentoring. With the rate at which technological innovations spring up and trends change the older generation need not worry if they have mentors (reverse mentoring).

These are some reasons why mentoring is better than coaching.

TIME

As a career professional you may have had a coach at some point in your career. Coaching usually lasts for a short duration which has been paid for. After the time paid for the relationship ends because a coach simply helps you reach a goal (performance based) which you have set at the beginning of the relationship. Mentoring is a long term relationship, it lasts as long as both of you want it.

I have heard people complain about coaching relationships that ended almost as soon as it started. This is because these people wanted something much more than coaching would give. If they had mentors who are good in the areas they paid for coaching, they would have gained more than their coaching experience.

KNOWLEDGE

Many times the coaches do not have first hand experience or knowledge on the areas they coach people on. This leaves a lot of gaps and foresight as the coach may not be able to predict the right action leaving a lot to chance or guess work.

Adaeze (second name withheld) hired a business coach to help her business which was thriving initially but experienced a nosedive in the third quarter of the year. She was too disappointed in the coaching experience as the coach couldn’t help her business pick up. She found someone who was very successful in her line of business and started following and implementing all she taught on her online platform. Within two months, Adaeze found exactly what was missing in her business which picked up again.

RELAXED

Coaching relationships are usually too structured and formal that it makes the coachee pensive. Coaches are too hard on the coachees in ways that may have negative feedback. Structure is necessary in such relationships but too much of it, is not helpful at the end of the day. There should be a balance. Mentoring offers you that balance where the relationship is relaxed and structured in a good way.In a mentoring relationship there is rapport, mentors may become friends with mentees but this is rarely found in coaching.

ENGAGEMENT

“My mentor does not have my time, in fact he is rarely in town, i am not angry o, he is a busy man, but my coach has my time atleast once a week”, she said.

This lady did not do her due diligence before getting into this mentoring relationship. When I probed, I found out the mentor is a “big name”in the country. She is one of those people that likes name-dropping.

I was honest, I told her to get a mentor because she doesn’t have one.

I am not saying mentors are not busy people. Most mentors are busy but if you are a productive mentee, they will have your time. Every mentor wants to know you are not wasting their time and their investment in you is yielding results. A productive mentee will make use of the information or resources provided for by the mentor not sit around and wait for everything to fall on their lap.

Coaching has more structured time for engagement but in the long run, the time spent with mentors is more.

CONVERSATION

Every mentoring relationship is built on trust, communication and respect.

Mentors do a whole lot of listening. Mentors use questions to guide you. They do not just heap you with some To-Dos or tasks that must be completed. They help you search your inner self to gain clarity. What I see coaches do these days is listen to your goals and immediately starts breaking them down to tasks that must be carried out to see results.

Many mentors want to know if you are certain about those goals and using experience they guide you through the best path to reach your goal.

I had a certain coach that reminded me of the butterfly experience. If you know the carterpillar metamorphosis illustration by Max Lucado in Hermie cartoon series. The caterpillar who wanted to metamorphosise into a butterfly as soon as possible because it kept seeing beautiful butterflies.

It was until Hermie (Larva) passed the pupa stage it could not turn into a beautiful strong butterfly. If God had listened to Hermie when it was asking to be changed to butterfly, it would miss the process of growth and will emerge weak.

Taking a carterpillar out of its cocoon to help it fly will only hinder it from flying. You would defeat the purpose of growth by ignoring the process.

So my coach had a list of amazing things she wanted me to accomplish before our coaching duration was over. Well, at the end of the day we had to rework the list. I could not afford to be half baked.

PSYCHOLOGICAL PERMISSION

It is easier for the mind to believe someone who has accomplished many goals especially in the area you want to achieve a goal than for someone who has never come close to the goal to motivate you.

Many times the exact goal you want to achieve may not have been achieved by your mentor but you are convinced because he/she has achieved similar goals in your field.

INNER CIRCLE

Many coaches still have inner circles where they offer mentoring because mentoring is a deepened relationship and they know many people desire that type of relationship.

ADD-ONs

Mentoring relationships have bonuses attached to them. As the mentee is set to gain wisdom and insight in many more areas other than the initially agreed area of mentoring.

Many times the mentees gain wisdom for their daily life, financial wisdom, relationship wisdom etc because mentoring takes a more holistic approach to learning.

MONEY

Mentoring relationships usually do not involved money. There are some mentoring relationships where mentees are required to pay a token which is to take care of meetings or data, for virtual mentoring. There are also few others that may require more than a token. I see many people ask for mentoring because of this. They want a relationship without financial commitment. Monetary involvement should not be the reason for opting for mentoring though it is a point. There are people who had nothing and were handpicked by a mentor and that relationship changed a whole lot in their lives.

VALUES

I have no doubt, that our generation needs mentoring more than coaching because we are fast adopting things, behaviours and culture which is not genuine to us. Many of our values have been lost, we don’t just need performance based coaching but development packed mentoring. You may have a coach and a mentor but if you are to pick one this year, I will advise you go for a mentor.

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