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These Are The Differences Between Mentors, Advisors, and Coaches

Source | LinkedIn : By Zak Slayback

It feels like every day I meet a new person who claims they are a coach, a startup mentor, or asking to be an advisor (full disclosure, I am an advisor to several education startups but that’s because I spent the last 3 years building up an education company), which brings up the question:

What’s the difference between these people?

I used to have an aversion to anybody who would call themselves a mentor or a coach (advisor always carried a more formal tone to me for some reason). This aversion manifested itself in a form of “those who can’t do, teach,” or asking what it is this mentor or coach has achieved that qualifies them to call themselves a mentor or a coach. It was not until I actually got clear on why people hire coaches, why they find real-life mentors, and why they have advisors around that each made sense to me.

Once each of these makes sense, you have the opportunity to search out specific people to play each specific role. It’s possible that a mentor can also be a coach or an advisor can also be a mentor but, generally speaking, each of these focuses on their own specific domains in their own specific ways.

The best way to think of the differences between each of these categories is to ask yourself, “what role does this person play? To what end? For how long?” In which domains do you expect this person to have expertise? How long do you expect to work with them? On what endeavors?

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