Mentoring vs Coaching published by Nick Roud.

by | Aug 4, 2020

It’s a topic that evokes many different views, when might you look to find a mentor and when is a coach needed. Like an accountant is different to a lawyer, mentoring and coaching are different, but they sometimes get blurred into the same thing!

Welcome to this weeks leadership and career coaching blog – aimed at leaders and professionals who choose to grow, learn and continue to want to excel.

Since 2016 I’ve written a weekly blog – feel free to take a look at our full library of leadership & career topics here.

Before we jump into today, a small thank you message from me;

Over the last few months I have been updating our website to ensure we are supporting you at the highest level. Since starting Roud Career Coaching 4 years ago, it has been a huge privilege to be hired & trusted by over 600 professionals. Together we have looked to improve the current situation you find yourself in and to get the results you deserve. Thanks for all the messages on our new look website. It means so much that we are hitting the mark when it comes to leadership & careers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Welcome to our new blog(ets) who have joined our global family over the last week. Wow what a week its shaping up to be I hope you, your family and friend are healthy.

Enjoy todays blog

Nick x

Roud Career Coaching

‘Unleash Your Most Authentic-Self’


I thought that a good way to start our blog today was to ensure we are on the same page. So why not start with an introduction to our topic Mentoring vs Coaching.

Mentoring / Coaching Meaning

Here are two ways to look at Mentoring vs Coaching;

Mentor – ‘He/she has been there got the t-shirt, – they will share their personal experience with you’

Coaching – ’is a professional relationship between a trained/certified coach and a client – the goal is to enhance the clients leadership or management performance and development’

I hope that the above gives you a very clear line between the two. Its not uncommon for a person to reach out to me who thinks he/she is looking for an executive coach when in fact its really a mentor that will really support them – and – on the flip side someone comes to have a chat about Mentoring and its actually coaching that will really hit the mark for them. If you are looking to grow and develop yourself just remember those two important distinctions and allow yourself to work out what is best for your individual growth and development.

What are some of the ways of finding a Mentor (lets explore)

If you speak to any successful person you will start to see a common thread, most if not all of them have had help ‘a leg up’ along the way. They seek to be the very best they can be and are willing to invest in themselves. With Mentoring unlike coaching its typically not paid for.

A Mentor

A Mentor

A mentor and in particular a job mentor can be very supportive in your career. So why not find one for yourself? How do people find a Mentor? Is it as simple as just asking?

Well, yes. (that was easy wasn’t it!!) Not quite – lets consider and think about someone who is at the pinnacle of their job what has he/she actually done, what has helped them to that position, what have they failed on – what are some of the thoughts and ideas that might help you.

Let’s say for an example you are a Financial Controller and you are looking to take the next step in your career to a CFO. Or you are a HR Manager and you are looking to step up to a HR Director position. You may be questioning many things, what is it they actually do etc.

To help you really make the very most out of your Mentoring relationship here are some suggestions before you pick up the phone and ask someone to be your mentor;

  • be honest with yourself and clear why you want a mentor. Are you interested in that persons advice?

  • look at your own style and approach to work. how might that mentor complement you? Is it someone completely opposite to yourself?

  • mentors come in all shapes and sizes – are you looking for someone you would like to be?

  • think beyond your previous Managers or lecturers. You may consider older friends, people within the professional associations you belong to (I’d always encourage a person outside your current work environment as you may want advice from the mentor on workplace issues or future career moves)

  • try to avoid just the biggest / most well know person you can find

  • create a list of say 3-5 and make time to meet with them all, explain what you are looking for and see how the chemistry goes, like working with a coach if the chemistry is not right its going to be a hard road ahead! explain whey you would like him/her to be your mentor and be sincere about that

  • when asking someone to be your mentor, explain why – explain why you are asking and what you would like to get from the relaionship.

Some other things to consider when looking for mentors

  • mentoring can take many forms, a monthly breakfast, a quarterly phone call, a weekly walk along the beach (depending on what time of the year it is) or just email communication/technology if you are looking for a mentor who may be overseas. Don’t limit yourself to the country you live and work in!

  • How to know if its working?

    • firstly ask a simple question on a specific topic – how did the response feel!, was it good advice!, did it make sense to you!, how were your energy levels after?

  • Don’t become to dependent on your mentor, remember why you want a mentor, just like going to a party don’t outstay your welcome

  • You don’t need to take every single bit of advice they share with you, I’d encourage you to keep thinking for yourself

  • Don’t take your mentor for granted – show authentic gratitude sometimes its as little as a thank you that goes a long way.

  • You are allowed more than one mentor, I have a board of directors 3 people in fact and all from very different walks of life. Consider choosing different mentors for different parts of your professional life.

  • Finding good mentors takes time – its hard and don’t be offended if the person you reach out to refuses to be your mentor, its not personal.

What are some of the ways to finding a Coach

As explained in our finding a mentor section, any if not all successful leaders invest in a coach. They do it for a variety of reasons and I only have the reasons from my clients to go on. Let just say it comes back to getting results. Similar to elite sports stars who want to be the absolute best they surround themselves with a coach who can help them be their very best.

A coach and in-particular a certified coach will have had like a qualified lawyer or accountant had to go through a rigorous process to become certified. I recently reviewed my business as I wanted to understand why clients in particular CEOs, C-Suite and Future leaders hire me. It boiled down to these few things. CEOs want trust and the ability to work things through away from the board room, leaders want honesty, whilst rising leaders want to work a proven process that will see them rise up to the next level.

A coach is someone who will tell you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always wanted to be

No matter how experienced you are in your career, a strong coach can be a game changer for every executive. Here are a few things to consider;

  • If you are considering brining on a coach into your team start with a meaningful approach (just like finding a mentor (be honest with yourself and clear why you need a coach)

  • Coaching isn’t a one-size fits all approach. Each (certified) coach will bring their own ‘uniqueness’ and ‘approach’ to coaching – find out what works for you, meet them spend time with them and ask as many questions as you can. Its a very intimate relationship – in my coaching work I want nothing left of the table – nothing hidden – honesty and integrity is the starting point for any client I take on.

  • Coaching isn’t therapy

  • Ask others you know if they can recommend a coach to you

  • Ask the coach for references from previous clients (appreciate that many certified coaches will sign Non-Disclosures as part of his/her terms with a client. But do remember that just because someone you know has had great results from working with that coach doesn’t mean you will get the same results – so again, chose the certified coach that works for you.

  • Coaching is highly personal and its so very important to connect with someone who suites your style. Do the hard work and find the right match.

  • Understand why you want a coach – what are you looking to achieve – what are some of your key objectives, explain that to your potential coach and see how they might be able to help you

    • dont worry if you are not sure or feeling overwhelmed by the thought of engaging with a coach – a good coach will help you identify what you need and a great coach will open your eyes to ‘opportunities’ for growth

  • When meeting your potential coach look at the tools/process they use and get to understand why they use these particular ones, understand how these tools/process have helped clients. Understand how a coach measures success or as I like to call it what is the ROI (return on investment) – leaders don’t invest in coaching they invest in results above all get to know him/her.

  • Find a coach with relevant experience – it helps if your coach has enough personal context and experience to understand the types of situations and challenges you are facing. Or has he/she coached enough clients similar to your background.

  • Don’t be afraid to spend time with your potential coaches – ask fro a 90min call or face 2 face meeting – observe how they operate – if all your meetings are going to be in a coffee shop you might want to re-consider engaging with that coach a safe private space away from a crowded coffee shop is helpful to your success.

  • Ask questions, can you relate and or connect with him/her – above all do you enjoy and see a good fit, if so find out their ability to take on you as a client.

  • Do you need one or two certified coaches? Again think about your reason for a coach and work towards that

  • Understand their fee structures – most certified coaches have a cost for program fee as apposed to an hourly rate / work out who is paying you or your organisation – is it part of your Learning & Development budget, how is the fee split monthly, quarterly, instalments etc.

Above all its important to really remember that you can work with any coach you choose to work with, the hard work is yours to do and only you. Engage with a certified coach who helps you be the very best you can be.

As we wrap up todays leadership and career blog we are all in uncertain times, business are changing rapidly – staff are crying out for leaders who are authentic and real , boards are looking at their leadership groups to really step up.

Put time into you and your development be it with a mentor or coach.

Look after yourself and each other, thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Nick x

Roud Career Coaching

‘Unleash Your Most Authentic-Self’

About your Coach

Nick is married to Nicola and they have 2 kids, Louie (4) and Willow (2). Nick has been partnering professionals in their leadership and careers since 2006. He is a Master Certified Executive Coach (MCEC) and Top 3 Executive Coach in the world on Intelligent Leadership (IL) Executive Coaching. He was personally trained and coached by the #1 Executive Coach in the world John Mattone. Nick has personally coached over 600+ professionals (as at June 2020), he coaches on the EMBA program at one of New Zealand leading business university. More information on working with Nick can be found here

To hire Nick as your Coach simply email him


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630