Not Again! Corporate Mentoring vs. Corporate Coaching

I just finished reading an article online that purports to discuss how the newest generations of young workers are transforming mentoring. not again resized 600

The article contrasted generations of workers - Boomers with Generation X'ers and Millennials - and how they perceive mentoring.  To those who are less clear on mentoring, the article may appear to offer some interesting points about new views on mentoring--such as that X'ers seek collaboration and work balance while Millennials seek learning connections. But upon reflection, what is really being described is not mentoring, but coaching.  By calling these relationships "learning relationships" (why not just use the word "mentoring" which is what the article claims to be about), nowhere is the confusion more apparent than in the following statement made in the article:


Learning relationships will go "from long-term career mentoring to need-oriented situational mentoring to interest-focused topical mentoring."


Is situational mentoring really the same as a long-term career mentoring? Not really!


Mentoring is about engaging in a long-term relationship that, in building trust, results in significant personal and professional development of the mentoree.  Situation mentoring generally means "mentoring" on a given issue or topic thus, by definition, is not long term.  Is this relationship helpful? Of course. But it isn't's coaching.

If you've been reading my blogs over time you know that I address this issue on occasion as it is a pet peeve of mine - people confusing mentoring and coaching.  Our software system ( offer mentoring.  We believe that maintaining that clear distinction allows a client to more clearly know which strategy they need and to get the results they want or expect that are consistent with that strategy, be it mentoring or coaching.

My wish is that despite the desire to write interesting articles, it would be best if writers stopped confusing apples and oranges in order to generate hits on their websites.  This is not helpful to the potential client seeking clarity on a strategy to develop the talent within the workforce.

coaching vs mentoring

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Topics: Mentoring FAQs