Coaching, Mentoring and Counseling Explained

by Unre Visagie



[adrotate banner=”7″]

The difference between coaching, mentoring and counseling.

(See also: key result areas)

This page explains coaching, mentoring and counseling and how to apply them in your work and personal life. We do this in a question and answer style of writing. Starting with the question, “What does mentoring mean?”

coaching counseling mentoring


Do you know what my team player skills leader said to me yesterday? He wants me to act as a mentor to one of my junior colleagues!

But how do I go about it? I’m not even sure if I know what mentoring means.

coaching mentoring


Mentoring, coaching and counseling are related concepts.

All three deal with a process of helping another person to grow and develop.

In a work environment a mentor, coach or counselor is usually a person who is experienced in the area in which the competencies of a colleague still need development.

The diagram below illustrates the three concepts and how they differ in focus.

mentoring coaching

Mentoring Coaching

Thank you to: Elizabeth Hayes

responsibilities of a mentor


Yes, but can you tell me what those same core skills are?

mentoring styles


It is essential that mentors, coaches and counselors have the following skills:

mentorship pictures

Mentorship pictured

mentoring and coaching


To be able to maximize the growth of the individual being mentored and add value to the relationship, the mentoring skills and style of the mentor should be developed and adapted to suit the developmental level and need of the individual being mentored.

mentorship process


Wait a minute, there’s still a lot I need to know!

What does it mean to adapt your mentoring style to the developmental level of the individual being mentored?

Mentorship styles (S) in relation to the Developmental level (D) of the individual being mentored


Mentorship Process

coaching mentoring e counseling


According to Hersey and Blanchard, four developmental levels of the individual being mentored can be distinguished, ranging from D1 to D4 (as they call it).

At each level the individual being mentored needs a different monitoring style to maximize growth.

They have further identified four mentoring styles (S1 to S4) which differ from each other in terms of the amount of supportive and directive behavior each encompasses.

The diagram above illustrates what each developmental level entails, as well as the appropriate mentoring style that will facilitate the individual being mentored’s growth to the next level.

differences between coaching and mentoring


OK, so that means that my colleague , who has high commitment and low competence, is on developmental level D1 and he needs a Directing Mentoring Style. S1: a lot of structure, control and supervision.

coaching y mentoring


Remember to adapt your mentoring style as your individual being mentored moves to another development level.

mentor ship


The mentoringprocess can be regarded as the growth of the individual being mentored’s self-concept through goal directed behavior. As indicated in the diagram below, the individual being mentored is guided from one goal (G1) to a more complex one (G2). The sense of achievement leads to the enhancement of the individual being mentored’s self-concept, or sense of self-worth (S-C.1 to S-C.2)

After achieving the goal, it is vital that the mentor assists the individual being mentored to REFLECT on the achievement.

Through reflection (which implies honest feedback) self-analysis and self-evaluation, growth of the individual being mentored’s self-concept is facilitated.

mentorship model

Mentorship model

mentoring y coaching


The Performance Management Process is a very effective vehicle for setting and reviewing goals.

About Unre Visagie
I am a master coach with 30 years of career and business coaching experience. I have built and sold many of my own multi-million dollar companies. I have always built my companies based on the principle of successful people make a successful company. I invest in people. As your coach you get 30 years of experience to help you do the work you love and earn the salary you want.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rik Bennett May 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

Useful overview. Would appreciate references to the original sources (ie Hayes, Hersey and Blanchard). Those models are very powerful and helpful.

Bagy October 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

what is the counseling?

Leave a Comment

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image

{ 7 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: