Mentors vs. Coaches

"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." - Oprah Winfrey

I really like this quote for a couple reasons...

First, hope. We all need it.  And we all need to see it in ourselves.

Second, given my background in Human Resources, many times the words mentor and coach are used interchangeably and the definitions get blurred.

Both coaches and mentors are super important to each and every one of us.  Coaches are more structured and usually align with some goal we're trying to achieve.  Maybe it's a sport, creative, or business goal.  Coaches help us set and achieve our goals.  Sometimes the coaching relationship is long, but many times it's shorter in nature.  Once your goal is met, the relationship shifts or ends.

Mentors on the other hand are more informal.  They sometimes tell stories of their experience and help you find your path on your own.  There's likely not a specific structure to the relationship - no goals and accountability set up - just learning by being together and sharing experience.  Many times mentoring is related to improving interpersonal skills, rather than concrete goals.  These relationships generally last much longer than a coaching relationship since we can all improve on our interpersonal skills, no matter how awesome we think we are.

In my career, I've been both a coach and a mentor.  Both are fun and both are challenging - especially when the definitions get blurred.

If you have one or both, take the time to thank them for their wisdom.  Say a prayer that they keep their enthusiasm high and that you continue to grow with their guidance.

And if you're an athlete ask St. Sebastian to intercede on your behalf with this prayer:

Glorious Sebastian, martyr and saint,
I call on your strength and courage
to help me through this difficult trial.
Your faith was so deep,
a multitude of arrows could not finish you.
I ask for your intercession
that I may also survive that which threatens
to destroy my beliefs in the mercy of Christ.
Amen.

Or you can always pray the Guardian Angel Prayer:

Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom God's love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side. To light and guard, To rule and guide.  


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