What’s the Difference Between Mentoring and Coaching Salespeople?

Today I was asked the difference between sales coaching and mentoring salespeople and I think this is a great topic that all sales managers, from field level up through the executive team must understand. This is only my opinion and I feel very strongly about this. Ask someone else and they might tell you that coaching and mentoring are the same.

Mentoring is when one agrees to be an individual’s mentor; a wiser, more experienced, successful, and probably older guide to life, business, career or hobby. The mentor provides this guidance only when asked and often acts as a sounding board for the less experienced but eager learner.

Coaching is the process of consistently force feeding skills, lessons learned, and action plans to those who require coaching. It is performed whether or not the coachee wants it and should be provided through the context of pre-call strategizing and post-call debriefing.

When we evaluate a sales organization, one of the many areas that we explore is the area of coaching, determining whether management is effective at coaching as well as whether they invest enough time in coaching. How much time should be spent on coaching? A dedicated manager should find himself engaged in coaching activities about 25% of the time.

(c) Copyright 2005 Objective Management Group, Inc.