The difference between a mentor, a coach, a consultant and an advisor
Advising, coaching, consulting and mentoring are terms that are often used interchangeably, but there are some fundamental differences between them:
- Advisors offer guidance.
- Coaches develop specific skills.
- Consultants make recommendations.
- Mentors are a source of support and motivation.
Generally speaking, advisors, coaches and consultants focus on knowledge and know-how. They are experts in a given field and are paid to achieve or facilitate a mandate or particular goals for a business, with a view to attaining shorter-term results.
Volunteer support for entrepreneurs
Through Réseau M, mentored entrepreneurs can tap into the insight and experience of a seasoned business professional to get a better handle on the situations they are faced with and sharpen their entrepreneurial acumen. Mentors share what they have learned over time and provide food for thought to guide mentees in the decision-making process and make informed choices. With each successive interaction, mentors cement their role as a respected confidant, thus empowering their mentees to withstand the challenges before them.
What mentors do:
- Help mentees escape the isolation common to many entrepreneurs
- Listen and ask questions
- Prompt mentees to see problems from a different angle
- Identify possible solutions
- Are a source of encouragement and motivation
- Provide a critical perspective
- Give feedback on mentees’ overall outlooks and attitudes
- Supply real-world examples drawn from their own experience
- Adhere to a strict code of confidentiality
What mentors don’t do:
- Assist mentees in managing their business
- Serve as a consultant or expert advisor in production, marketing, distribution, accounting or any other field, or provide customized management solutions, advice or recommendations
- Tell mentees what to do (be it through a business action plan or a set mentoring “curriculum”)
- Establish a business relationship with mentees as a client, supplier or partner
- Refer mentees within their own networks
- Receive compensation for their services (the mentor is a volonteer but accessing the Reseau M mentoring network requires a paid subscription)