No, coaching and mentoring are not the same thing. They can deal with the same subjects, the same issues and with the same goal in mind, but they serve two very different functions.
Coaching deals with the actual physical subject at hand. They are teachers, trainers and instructors whose goal is to teach, improve and perfect someone’s abilities in a specific activity.
For example, a football coach teaches the players how to play football. He teaches the moves, the passes, the timing and all the little quirks that will hopefully turn the players into football icons.
Their expertise is limited to teaching and instructing the players how to play football. They focus on the rules, they implement training sessions and they live to win the trophy. Their job is basically physical although they do teach some mental strategies and concepts that are known to help build good players. But these are all related to the actual game and performance for the benefit of the team.
Coaches teach the game, stress procedures and work at moulding their players into winners, and it’s all for the benefit of perfecting the players to win the game.
Mentoring, on the other hand, is giving advice or counselling to those who are in need of mental support for their involvement in the actions of things like football games or any physical move. They are the voice of encouragement that tells the football player that he can become a good player.
Their job is to build character and encourage the mental and physical abilities of the person. Taking the football example, the mentor would need to be knowledgeable in football to be able to understand everything about it in order to provide the correct support for the player, but they don’t teach the game.
Mentors are usually people who have had or still have a personal involvement with the subject at hand. Using the football scenario again, the mentor might be a retired football player or a heroic player who has been forced off the field due to a physical injury.
If someone wants to be a football player, he joins the team and the coach teaches him the game including the offensive and defensive moves. But the player might not be playing with the success he was hoping for and feels that he’s more of a liability to the team, and so thinks of quitting.
He may on his own or the coach may help him find someone who can encourage him to believe and teach him that he can become successful. So, he would locate a famous retired football player, for example, and learn from him all the strategies that made him successful.
The mentor would encourage him to go beyond his own limitations and be all he can be, and then he’ll teach him all the secrets to moves and plays that helped make him famous.
So, coaching and mentoring have their different functions but their goals are the same and they are to help someone succeed.