Coaching is an approach to developing a person or team. The process of empowering and enabling people to take ownership to think for themselves and develop their own internal and external resources to move forward with a particular course of action in pursuit of a particular aim or goal. This is achieved by the coach role modelling belief in the coachee’s (or team’s) ability to define goals and actions and identify and overcome barriers resulting in increasing levels of achievement.
Coaching is a mindset, a set of skills, a process.
Mentoring is an approach to developing a person or team. The mentor has greater expertise and experience in a given field than the mentee. Thus, the key premise of mentoring is that the mentee wishes to follow in the footsteps of the mentor in a particular field of expertise to gain similar or greater knowledge, ability and awareness. As an approach, mentoring typically has an externally recognised structure to follow, for example, a professional doctor or lawyer will have a mentor to support them through a well understood set of career steps and goals.
Many of the skills found in coaching can also be applied to mentoring.
It is reasonable to suggest that there is a substantial overlap between coaching and mentoring, though they also have distinct differences. The lived experience of each is actually very different.