They say that the first 12 months is the â€˜make or break' period of a business, especially when it's a small business. So many factors can tip the scales to one end of the spectrum or the other; the location, the team, the short and long term business plans, and the day-to-day operations are just some of these. Some business owners are lucky or simply have the skills and knowhow to make everything fall into place, while others might need a little help along the way. Even business juggernauts from Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson to Janine Allis (founder of Boost Juice) will have sought advice from people they trust; advice that no doubt has helped them get to where they are today.
You'll likely see the terms â€˜small business coaching' and â€˜small business mentoring' a lot if you're searching for people or organisations that may be able to offer you that valuable extra assistance. Often, those two terms are used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between them. Let's take a look.
Coaching is task-driven, mentoring is relationship-driven
Small business coaching focuses on addressing tangible, specific issues that directly affect the performance of a business, such as effective communication, strategic thinking, and planning. Mentoring on the other hand is very much relationship driven; the mentor-protÃ©gÃ© relationship provides the owner of the business with a safe environment in which they are able to discuss any personal issues that might positively or negatively affect the business. These issues can range from work/life balance to self perception and everything in between.
Small business coaching is short term while mentoring is long term
Given the task-focused nature of business coaching, it makes sense that once a certain objective has been met then the need for coaching might not longer be there. Business mentoring, however, is relationship driven, and solid relationships are developed over time - therefore it is much more of a long term investment in the business.
Coaching focuses on performance, while mentoring concentrates on development
Small business coaching concentrates on improving the skills or performance of the individual in a certain area of the job. Once that particular box or set of boxes has been ticked, there is no longer any need for coaching at that point. Mentoring, however, is about preparing and developing the protÃ©gÃ© not only for the current job but also instilling particular values or skill sets that will serve them well into the future, no matter what they do.
These are by no means the only differences between business coaching and mentoring, but they do nevertheless highlight the disparities between the two terms. Both effective mentoring and coaching can and will enhance the performance of a business, but it is vital that business owners and leaders have clarity about what they are looking to achieve and how they need to get there.
For valuable and trusted coaching in Melbourne, contact any of the number of business coaches who will all have the experience you need to maximise opportunities for your business. Get in touch with them today.