Do you have a coach or a mentor? If so, you’ve got a valuable ally for growing your career. Nowadays a lot of managers and supervisors are calling themselves coaches and mentors, so for now, I want to use the terms a little more formally.
Technically speaking, a mentor is someone who either is doing or has done the kind of work that you want to do. You and your mentor are usually in the same organization. He or she basically offers you advice so that you can get to where you’re headed more efficiently and hopefully, with fewer mistakes along the way.
The job of a professional coach, on the other hand, is to help you in any part of your life. But usually coaching focuses on your work. Your coach’s job is to help you get clarity about what you want, and to assist you in getting it.
Whereas mentoring is usually about giving you good advice, a coach will more often ask you powerful questions to help you come up with your own answers. Coaching also has an accountability component to help make sure you do what you need to do to get where you want to go.
If you’re looking for a mentor, find someone with a good reputation for working with people. If you want to find a coach, check out the International Coach Federation’s website at coachfederation.org.
Whether you decide to work with a coach or a mentor, make sure you feel comfortable with the person. Ask about their experience and what kind of people they ideally like working with. If you come close to that description, you may have found yourself a great partner for your success.