Mentors are those people who support you with their experience during times of development or change. With their experience they allow you to use them as a sounding board for your ideas. They help shape your ideas by reframing your suggestions if needed, so that decisions are made calmly and with solid thought and experience. It doesn’t always follow that mentors are more experienced, but it helps if your mentor has experience of your own situation or has helped others achieve outcomes. A mentor is there to listen for hours and support. If you think about how mentors help sports people. They won’t usually be the ones who have all the gold medals, but are usually great as advisors. They observe, support and make suggestions for improvements in ability, style, technique and so on.
So what is the difference between coaching and mentoring?
Coaching tends to be more about goal setting to achieve a response, whereas mentoring guides you. Although there will be some cross over as discussion has to happen with a mentor to achieve an outcome and with a coach to decide on ideas. Whether you decide to work with a coach or mentor for your project, you will need to speak to a handful to see who fits with your needs best, who you have a great rapport with and of course always ask for some references or testimonials.
How can you become qualified as a mentor, or indeed a coach?
As with all services that you might hire, it is always best to take advice and support from a qualified person. There are many routes to coaching and mentoring. Take a look at these courses and qualifications as a guide.
Of course if you already have a degree or masters degree in a particular subject you will be able to study at a much higher level. Level 3 is A levels, Level 4 is an HNC/D, Level 5 is a foundation degree, Level 6 a degree, 7 is your masters and so on.
As a coach the best way forward is to train with a reputable organisation such as, International Coach Federation (ICF), Association for Coaching (AC), Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and also the Chartered Institute of Personnel.