What is Executive Mentoring?

Explore the meaning of executive mentoring, the value it brings to an organisation and the difference between executive mentoring and coaching.

Executive Mentoring« Back to Articles

With mentoring becoming a more popular choice to help support and aid employees with career development and studies showcasing the true value mentoring can bring to an organisation. Many organisations are now implementing executive mentoring into their learning and development processes. Executive mentoring can be described as a more senior employee taking onboard a less seasoned associate, to help the mentee progress and build capabilities. A diverse group of people can benefit from executive mentoring such as junior executives looking to improve leadership skills, an individual looking for a promotion to the retiring CEO of a company mentoring the upcoming chairman. Throughout this article, we will be exploring the difference between executive mentoring and coaching, showcasing the value each brings, determining which is best suited to your organisation and providing advice on how to find the most suitable mentor.

The Difference Between Mentoring and Coaching

Both mentoring and coaching involve a typically one-to-one relationship between an individual and a trusted advisor. The distinction between the two is often blurred and closely linked, although they are both distantly approached when used for professional and personal development, contrasting in aim and purpose. At a basic level, the main variation between executive mentoring and coaching is that although coaching is all about supporting leaders to further investigate their ideas, mentoring involves a higher involvement and input from the mentor. A mentor is commonly an individual who has been in the same situation as the mentee and is often more likely to be more senior and experienced, on the other hand, coaches don’t regularly have the same job experience and help the individual develop their ideas and solutions through questions and feedback. Executive coaching is more focused on improving skills and gaining new ones, whereas, executive mentoring is focused on dispensing wisdom and finding solutions for the mentee to find their full potential using their skillset. Let’s look through the main differences:

  • Mentoring is typically an ongoing relationship over a few weeks or even years, compared to coaching which has a set duration.
  • Mentoring can feel more informal, with meetings taking place when the mentee needs guidance and support. Coaching is more structured with meetings taking place regularly.
  • Mentors acquire the experience and knowledge looked for by the mentee, in comparison to a coach who does not need to have specific expertise of the individual’s career or desired skill set.
  • Mentoring focuses on career advancement and personal growth, compared to coaching which concentrates on organisational development areas.

When Mentoring is a Better Choice:

There are many benefits to both coaching and mentoring for executives. Exclusive mentoring, however, deals with a more holistic view of the mentee's life and career, helping the mentee achieve attainable goals. We’ve put together a shortlist, sharing the main reasons executive mentoring would be the right choice for your organisation:

  • Developing business plans or strategies.
  • It supports professional development.
  • Executive mentors offer guidance during career or life changes.
  • It's beneficial if the mentee is up for a promotion.
  • It provides clarity and helps determine what the mentee wants to achieve.
  • Executive mentors assist in leveraging the strengths of their mentees.
  • It helps the mentee form actional goals.
  • Executive mentoring enables the mentee to gain leadership skills by providing regular feedback.

Tips for finding the right mentor

It can often feel challenging to find a mentor within an organisation. If executive mentoring is the best fit for your organisation, we have shared our best advice for finding the right mentor:

  • Chemistry – Mentoring is all about building relationships and feeling connected with an individual. After all, the more comfortable you feel, the more likely honest conversations are to happen. Chemistry is important because the relationship needs to feel right for both parties involved.
  • Commitment – The mentee needs to be committed to making the changes to progress both personal and professional. When choosing a mentor, it's also equally as important that they are committed to helping support the mentee during their development.
  • Job experience and wisdom – Particularly with executive mentoring, the mentor needs to have the right experience and understand truly what it means to be successful within the industry. They need to have experienced the role themselves, gaining the expertise and wisdom to share with the mentee.

Final thoughts

As discussed throughout this article, there are many benefits for executive mentoring and coaching within the organisation. Even with their distinct differences, both aim to help an individual develop and grow within their career. Whatever you decide, there is no bad choice with encouraging employees to advance within your organisation.

If you're looking to implement an executive mentoring program within your organisation or seeking more information concerning mentoring, you can book a free demo with PushFar, the world's leading mentoring software.
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