Coaching v’ mentoring – especially in the arts, creative & community sectors

Is there a difference between mentoring and coaching? Is it just about techniques and how much a mentor might steer compared to the coach supporting the coachee to find their own solution?

This blog comes directly from lots of ideas that have been sparked from a recent online survey sent out to the arts, creative and community professionals community. The majority (over 55%) of people answered they would more likely consider seeking out and investing in a mentor verses to seeking out a coach (16%).

So this feedback has got me thinking?

Being both a mentor and a coach for artists, creatives and community developers what do I think is the difference?

My experience of mentoring has been that of being with a leader in their field with a clear set of credible training and experience with a successful track record in their sector. I have been gifted to have been mentored by Eddie Piller (Acid Jazz Records), John Cornell (KVAT) , Anna Marsden (Wiltshire & Swindon Community Foundation), David Templer (Kairos Education Foundation), Andrew Mawson (St. Pauls Way Transformational Project, Bow) , Daniel Priestley, Mike Harris & Darren Shirlaw (Key Person Of Influence Programme).

Yet with coaching those who I have received coaching from are leaders in their fields with a clear set of credible training and experience with a successful track record in their sector. I have been blessed to have been coached by Mike Harris (Find Your Lightbulb), Carol Wilson (Performance Coach Training Ltd.), Deb Barnard (Relational Dynamics), Louise Smith (Conscious Change), Audrey Elder.

Firstly the all experiences of mentoring and coaching have given me the chance to shift swiftly & significantly on topics I have been stuck on and have been energising experiences. And more often than not both mentors and coaches have said they learn and are inspire by the gifting of their time and skills.

And what do other people think about this…I decided to speak to my own mentor, the amazing & inspirational Lauren Craig, creator & artistic director of Thinking Flowers and discuss this with with my co-coach.

Lauren made the point, which I agree with, that in the arts, creative and community sectors mentoring is more well known whilst coaching is less of a known quantity. My co-coach felt it was a question of confidence of knowing the difference in the first place and also what was on offer in the area i.e. if the client is seeking support and meet a mentor they will choice mentoring and the same for coaching…

And across the board the question of cost is a big issue particularly within the age old arts ‘I am a poor artist’ consensus consciousness.

Word of mouth comes into play hugely too either via a direct recommendation via a friend or from a testimonial via a blog, website or leaflet.

And I am curious to know what you think? I would love to hear your thoughts and any experiences of coaching and/or mentoring…especially those from within the arts, creative and community sectors.

1st published on Ecademy.com 16.12.2012

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