What is the difference between coaching, mentoring and counselling?

Specialist Training & Coaching for Researchers

PurposeProfessional and Personal DevelopmentCareer and Skill Development, GuidanceEmotional and Psychological Support
FocusFuture-oriented, Goal-setting, Performance ImprovementCareer Advancement, Skill EnhancementPast-oriented, Emotional Healing, Problem Resolution
Role of PractitionerCoach facilitates self-discovery and learningMentor provides advice, guidance, and shares experienceCounsellor offers therapeutic support and intervention
Nature of RelationshipCollaborative partnershipExperienced advisor and guideClient-centered therapeutic relationship
ApproachAction-oriented, solution-focusedExperience-based guidance and adviceInsight-oriented, exploring emotions and thoughts
Client’s RoleProactive participant, sets goals and takes actionReceives guidance, learns from the mentor’s experienceActive participant in exploring and resolving emotions
Is this used in academia?Yes, coaching is becoming a common tool offered to researchers, academics and staff at universities to support their professional developmentYes, often offered to new academic starters and more frequently as an additional support to academics applying for promotion or leadership positionsYes, often provided by mental health and psychological services to students and more frequently now offered to staff as part of well-being services
Service Offered by Researcher Coaching?Yes
Book a Coaching Taster
Yes but often alongside coaching and training.
Contact us to talk through your exact needs
No. If you think you might benefit from speaking with a counsellor please contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy or contact your university wellbeing services

Why should I get a coach and not a mentor?

The decision to get a coach over a mentor is often down to personal preference but we think coaching has distinct advantages in personal and professional development. A coach is dedicated to helping you define and achieve your own goals, fostering a self-driven and empowered growth journey. While mentors provide valuable guidance based on their experiences they may not be able to offer you the opportunity to explore and develop your unique solutions.

In short, if you want someone to tell you what to do based on their experience you want a mentor. If you want someone to support you to set goals, create action plans, and provide ongoing feedback that is tailored specifically to you then coaching is what you are looking for.

Opting for a coach means working with someone who is committed to support you to feel more positive about the direction of your work and more confident that you can achieve success.

How does Researcher Coaching work?