Almost more than half of the teachers have been mentored at some point in their lives. Either when we were hired as a teacher, or when we were a new student in the class. Not many of us can say that we have been coached. Although, only a few of us will be able to give a clear definition of both the words. Coaching has became a catchphrase in the education sector in the last few years and nowadays there are a number of institutions promoting and advertising it in schools. Many schools have smoothed this as professional development however it is a basic strategy having its roots in the education sector and as a psychological approach.
A coach and a mentor are two diverse professions, even though the words are used somewhat interchangeably. A mentor is said to be someone who is an insider, someone who is an expert in a particular field, who supports the newcomer. A mentor for few teachers might be an experienced senior teacher in the same school or district. For example mentor could demonstrate the students how to use the online platform and integrate technology with his day to day studies or how to get some practical view of the lessons being taught in classes. A mentor shows a newbie the ropes, tricks of the trade and helps the newcomer to get through the transition of their careers. A mentor passes on their knowledge, skills, experience and helps a mentee to improvise their communication relations and make contact with other people.
The basic difference between coaching and mentoring lies in the actual reason being the support provided to the novice and the formality around the process. Coaching clearly is far much formal around the process than mentoring and has more large-scale goals to achieve.
Coaching in simplest words is, professional development. Its main purpose is to facilitate an adult learner improve their practice – whether it is teaching or leadership. Thus, this makes coaching much more structured than mentoring. Effective coaching is anchored in goals. A coach is a teacher, a facilitator of others’ learning. To efficiently guide the learning process of an adult, the coach requires a toolkit. One more difference to be noted is that the coach does not need to be expert in exactly similar field as the person they are coaching. The job of a coach has much wider expanse, deeper and extensive role than that of a mentor and coaches usually receive far more training to become a coach however a mentor does not have to undergo comparable training process.
Mentoring is a supportive and long-term process between a mentor and mentee. In state education, mentoring is usually structured around complying with standards, which provides a lot of elementary documentaries as evidences of mentoring and their outcomes. The process usually is said to come to an end when the mentee is capable enough to carry on their duties without someone looking over them.
Coaching is the opposite; it consists of peer to peer discussions that provide the person who is being coached by coach’s feedback on what seems to be their strengths and weaknesses. Here the discussions are led by the coach but everyone who is being coached can take part and provide feedbacks on the same.
When should you consider Mentoring:
When should you consider coaching:
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.
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