Career Coach, Mentor or Both?

If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your current role or like you’ve tried everything in your job search but aren’t making any headway, it could be time to call on an expert for some support. Mentors and career coaches can help you process your current situation and get clarity on your steps forward, but they each do this a little differently.

Mentorship is more of an ongoing relationship that will stay constant throughout your career. A coach, on the other hand, is someone you typically engage with for specific moments like seeking a new job or advocating for a promotion

The differences 

A career coach provides guidance and support with the goal of empowering you to take action in your career - whether that’s seeking a promotion, asking for a raise or making a career change. Typically, a career coach will help you develop a professional, goal-oriented plan to take the next step in your career. 

Career coaches are experts in skills like career planning, resume building, negotiation and interviewing and can help guide you with best practices. It’s important to note that a career coach typically has extensive experience in recruiting and coaching, but not necessarily in your exact job role or industry.

two puzzle pieces fitting togetherWhat to Expect from a Career Coach

A career coach helps you set and work toward your career goals, no matter where you are in your career. Here’s what to expect from a career coach. Read more.

A mentor, on the other hand, is often someone in your field with more experience than you. A mentor's role is to guide you through specific career moments by sharing their own professional experiences so you can make an educated decision. This person may be someone within your company or outside of it. A mentor acts as an advisor, and it’s typically a longer-term relationship. 

Both coaches and mentors provide you with expertise, ideas and personal attention. Depending on what changes you’re looking to make in your career, you may prefer working with one over the other. 

Doubling up

Because coaches and mentors serve different purposes, it’s possible you may be working with both at the same time. However, the type of support they provide you with will likely look a bit different. If you are considering changing careers, for example, a career coach will help you polish your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills while a mentor will help you evaluate potential opportunities based on what they know about the industry and your personal goals. 

Look for similarities

The most beneficial coaching and mentorship relationships are built on similarities. Look for a mentor in your same industry and in a role you’d like to be in one day. Their job is to provide advice and feedback to keep you on the right career path. When it comes to selecting a coach, look for someone who has success placing people within the industry you’re interested in and at your seniority level. 

210208 mentor menteeFinding a Mentor: Where to Look and How to Ask

Finding a mentor who is the right fit for you is a multi-step process that will ultimately have a big pay off. Here’s where to look and how to ask a mentor. Read more.

Whether you’re looking for a mentor or a coach, look for a mom like you when possible. This person will understand the unique work-life integration challenges working moms face. They’ll also understand the value moms bring to the workplace and can help you begin to advocate for this as well in your own career path. 

The power of professional growth

No matter where you are in your career there is always an opportunity for professional growth. Our Community is made of caregivers just like you that are looking for ways to move forward, together in a better workplace for the future. Sign up or log in

Recommended Articles

Subscribe to discover more resources, programs and events

Get on the list

New to The Mom Project? Sign up for our emails and discover more resources, programs and events!