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Is there a difference? Mentor vs. Coach?

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During a recent conference, I was part of a conversation that involved the terms ‘Mentor’ and ‘Coach’.  Of course, the two terms are frequently interchanged as equivalent titles.  Yet, actually, there is a difference. And that difference is profound. 

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of each is:

    Mentor: a trusted counselor or guide.

    Coach: One who instructs or trains. One who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and   directs team strategy.

The term ‘mentor’ generally indicates a source of wisdom and/or experience. He or she may provide perspective and recommendations for a course of action.  Incredibly valuable, but for one who needs more consistent interaction, involvement, and accountability, simple direction and words of wisdom fall short.

The term ‘coach’ goes further, referring to one that offers direction and counsel, but in a more hands on, shoulder to shoulder method.  One that goes with you. The origin of the term relates to a vehicle that was used to get an individual from one point to another. And that concept remains today, whether referring to a motor coach, sports coach, music coach, speaking coach, or Business Coach. A coach has the best interest of the ‘player’ in mind, as well as that of the team. There’s a clear plan of action, and there’s the focus and attention on achievement using the ‘scoreboard’ as the measure of success.  A coach isn’t just about direction and guidance.  A coach is about getting results and reaching the goal through the plan, process, practice, and accountability that have proven so effective.

So, there is a difference.  When actual results and achievements are the goal, a great Coach will get you there.  After all, every champion has a coach!

No professional athlete or team goes into the game without a Coach. Who’s yours?

David Dowdy


As a certified Business Coach, business owners enroll in a program that we select together,  and agree will provide the best structure, discipline, accountability, and profit growth for them and for their businesses.


I have a passion for helping businesses like yours grow and become profitable, so you, the business owner can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve. As your Business Coach and adviser, I will help you deliver the results you desire using proven tools, methodologies and systems, tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide for over more than two decades. I will hold you accountable for your results and just like a sports coach, push you to perform at higher levels than you’re able to reach when left to your own devices.