Mentoring or Life Coaching?

Are you passionate about human motivation and working with people to improve their lives?
If so, both disciplines would likely appeal to you ... but there are some fundamental differences you should be aware of.

At New Insights, we don't offer courses in mentoring. But we do provide world class training for what we believe is a truly exciting alternative.


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If you have an interest in becoming a mentor, you're clearly someone who feels passionate about working with, and helping other people, to improve their lives.

Have you thought that you may be ideally suited to an amazingly fulfilling career in life coaching?

When it comes to weighing up whether to enter the field of mentoring or life coaching, it can be useful to contrast the two disciplines.

Here is a very brief summary of the key differences between mentoring and life coaching:



Mentor at work

Commonly refer to the people they take under their wings and mentor, as 'mentees'.

Mentor and mentee usually enjoy senior and junior standings within the mentoring relationship.

Mentor imparts greater wisdom and experience to improve the mentee's undestanding and competence in a chosen field or area of life.

Mentor seeks to transfer, to the mentee, knowledge and expertise gained through substantial time and experience in the field, 

Generally acts as a sounding board and adviser, providing guidance in an area of life or a career.

Aims to improve the mentee's prospects for developing a successful life or career, by offering sound advice and food for thought where needed.

Ultimate goal is to help their mentees grow and develop their knowledge and capabilities in a chosen field or area of life.


Coaching session

Commonly refer to the people they coach as 'clients' or, sometimes, 'coachees'

Coach and client (or coachee) always enjoy an equal standing in the coaching relationship.

Life coach uses a range of tools and techniques to help clients to develop their self awareness, then recognise and harness their own inner power and talents.

Coach seeks to introduce the client to various concepts, tools, techniques and insights to promote his or her self empowerment.

Generally acts as a facilitator, holding the client to account in achieving what he or she has set out to.

Aims to help clients to achieve their dreams by showing them how to construct effective, meaningful goals and action plans to achieve them.

Ultimate goal is to help their clients find their purposes in life and then live purpose-driven lives that are rewarding and fulfilling.

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Whereas mentoring is largely 'advice and guidance' oriented, life coaching is more 'personal-transformation' oriented. 

Mentoring involves transference of knowledge and skill from outside, whereas life coaching involves growth and development from within.

Mentoring is often more informal in nature and offered voluntarily as a way of giving back to younger, less experienced or less advantaged people. Life coaching, on the other hand, generally involves a formal contractual relationship with market related fees being charged for coaching services.

As a mentor your focus is the development of your mentee. By becoming a life coach – if you choose comprehensive and reputable training such as that offered by New Insights – you will experience a journey of substantial personal growth and development.


Magnifying glass

We hope you have found this brief comparison helpful in deciding whether mentoring or life coaching would be the best for you.

If it has encouraged you to learn more about pursuing a career in life coaching then you're in exactly the right place.

We have devoted a page on this website to explaining what life coaching is and what life coaches do.

If you're curious about the comprehensive training we offer to help you become a professional life coach, please visit the page on our website where you can learn more about our acclaimed and internationally accredited Life Coach Certification Training Programme.

Alternatively, if you'd like to read more in your own time, why not request to download our two 30-page life coaching ebooks that aim to answer all your questions about life coaching, and training with New Insights to become a life coach, There's no charge, all we ask is that you join our mailing list.

Life Coaching eBooksNew Insights offers two complimentary and informative 30-page ebooks that aim to answer all your questions about life coaching and training to become a life coach.
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Our Blog (and associated Podcast) New Insights On Life, contains hundreds of articles that focus on aspects of life coaching and human motivation.

If you are considering either mentoring or life coaching as a career and would like to explore the world of life coaching a little further, we recommend the post titled Life Coaching and Misperceptions Explained.

You can read it in detail on the Blog (or listen to the Podcast ... but here's an extract to whet your appetite:

"Ask any life coach what they do and the chances are high that the word change will crop up in the description they choose to share.

At New Insights we like to think of life coaches as agents for change. Helping people bring about the changes that they desire in their lives goes to the heart of life coaching.

As a life coaching industry I feel we’ve done a pretty poor job of communicating what we’re really about. Compounding the problem is the very term that describes our business – ‘life coaching’. It’s so broad that laypeople end up interpreting the meaning in many – often inaccurate – ways.

Common misperceptions

The most common misperception is that the primary role of life coaches is to solve people’s problems, or at least provide wisdom, advice and guidance to help solve peoples’ problems.

On a similar theme, many believe that life coaching is just a newfangled term for mentoring.

Another common misunderstanding is that life coaching is a progressive (some would even say new age) form of counselling or therapy.

Yet another perception is that life coaches deal in success – that people with deep pockets hire life coaches to help them polish their personal brands, promote their images and deepen their pockets further."

Continued on the Blog ...

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