Mentoring vs. Coaching vs. Sponsorship

What do Mentors do?

Mentors advise and inspire.
In short, practical terms:

  1. Mentors make introductions – to people, to programs or companies.
  2. Mentors give recommendations to best resources – reading, classes, experiences.
  3. Mentors give feedback for the mentee to consider.

Mentoring overlaps with coaching and sponsorship but there are differences in the three methods.

Katy Dickinson with TechWomen Giza Egypt Feb 2018

Katy Dickinson with TechWomen, Giza – Egypt 2018

Mentoring vs. Coaching vs. Sponsorship

……   Power   Topic   Duration   Boundaries   Reward
Sponsor Hierarchical or Positional Authority Succession Planning, Leadership Building Long-Term: Years Part of Regular Work Career Direction, Protection
Coach Special Knowledge Transfer of Specific Information, Teaching Short-Term: Class or Program Duration School or Training Scope and Vision Student: Passes Test, Coach: Payment
Mentor Wisdom Authority Career or Personal Growth Mid-term: 6 to 12 Months Program Scope and Vision Mutual Learning, Recommendations, Feedback

Adapted from a 2014 work by Katy Dickinson while at Everwise, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Published as a Mentoring Standard web page 15 Sep 2015. Updated 22 Nov 2018.
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