What’s the Difference Between a Career Coach and a Mentor? (and Why You Should Look for Both)

mentoring young business man


Zig Ziglar once said, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” In many cases, those “someone else’s” are mentors and career coaches. But what’s the main difference between the two and how can they impact your career? Here’s an overview:

  • A career coach: A professional who, for a fee, guides another in planning and managing their career. In many cases, executives and managers rely on career coaches; but they can be valuable for those who work outside of leadership roles, as well. Oftentimes, they’re used when a professional is interested in making a career change.
  • A mentor: This is an experienced and trusted adviser that professionals – from entry level all the way up through to executives – rely on. Mentors are often available on an informal basis or through a formal mentorship program, and can help you gain insight into your career and where to take it. Typically, you don’t pay for this type of guidance; the cost is only the time you put into it.

As local Kansas City recruiters, Morgan Hunter can tell you that the purpose of both these relationships is to help you gain objective advice and insight into your career. However, when it comes to career coaches, in many cases they’re used when someone is ready for a change. For instance, if you’re not happy where you are, but aren’t sure what steps you can and should take to pursue a new direction, you might consider a career coach. They will work to get to know you, learn about your goals, your personality, and your lifestyle needs. They’ll then collaborate with you to evaluate whether a move makes sense and, if it does, create a plan of action that can help you make the transition you want.

A mentor, on the other hand, will typically be more specific to the industry you work in or the company where you’re employed. For example, many larger organizations offer mentoring programs for junior-level employees looking to get onto the leadership track. Mentors can meet formally or informally on a regular basis with their mentees to discuss specific projects, talk about obstacles, offer ideas and give insight. These are professionals with extensive experience in climbing the career ladder and they can help others to do the same.

When it comes to mentors and coaches, both can and should have a place in your career. It just depends on what you’re looking to do with it and where you want to go at any given time.

Beyond coaches and mentors, a local Kansas City recruiter can also help when you’re looking for a new job or are ready to take your career to the next level. For instance, if there’s a certain type of position you’re looking for, they can tell you what skills you need to acquire to make yourself more attractive on the job market. They can also give you the inside scoop on getting hired at top local employers, as well as help you with resume and interview preparation.

Ready to learn more about the difference a recruiter can make in your career?

Contact the experts at Morgan Hunter. We’ve helped thousands of job seekers find the next great opportunity in their careers and we can help you, too. Contact us today or search our Kansas City jobs now.