Do I need coaching, mentoring, consulting, or training?

Working together

You’re one of the many people in business who recognise the need to seek external support but you’re not exactly clear on what type of support you need and how you’ll benefit from that.

Do I need coaching, mentoring, consulting, or training? What are the differences between these, and which is going to suit me best?

Firstly, congratulations to you for being humble enough to seek support. It continues to amaze me how many people feel they’re above seeking help or don’t need to consistently train when, all around us, there are so many examples of high-profile people who have sought help to achieve amazing results. If you’re a sports fan, think of your favourite professional sportsperson and I guarantee they have had a coach throughout their career. They train consistently too which helps them stay at the top. Who’s your favourite actor/actress? I’m willing to stake a large bet that they have a coach too. When they land a new role, how do you think they prepare for it? Yep, they train, train and train some more as well as consulting the specialists to help them prepare properly for the role.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and confidently state that those who have achieved ‘success’ have done so with the support of a coach, mentor and/or trainer. If it’s good enough for them, surely, it’s good enough for the rest of us, right?

To help you decide what type of support you need, here are the definitions and differences between consulting, coaching, mentoring, and training:

  • Consulting is most effective for individuals or groups who have no background in a specific field and need to access the methods, processes, and frameworks that others have used to achieve success.
  • Coaching is most effective at helping to sift through the noise in our heads and dig out the answers that already exist there, but we’ve been struggling to find them. Coaching is effective for individuals and groups who typically need short term support (1-12mths) to improve their performance in a specific field resulting in a measurable outcome.
  • Mentoring is most suitable for the development of the mentee(s) over a longer period in comparison to coaching. Mentees already have skills in the required field and mentoring helps develop those.
  • If you have a specific lack of skills, a specific and bespoke training program will address this gap. Just as much as you wouldn’t expect to learn a new language after one training session, the same logic applies, so only consider training if you’re prepared and able to receive multiple sessions.

Now you know more, which of these suits you best?