INSIGHT - Mentoring Vs Coaching – Avoid letting value leak away from YOUR organisation

insight mentoring Apr 27, 2020

Mentoring and Coaching are two disciplines with very similar skill-sets, both having the shared goal of improving the people within your organisation in order to better achieve your commercial objectives.

However, there are significant differences and applications. Are you making the common mistake of just focusing on Coaching and allowing value to leak away from your organisation? In this article we explore a cost and benefit comparison of Mentoring and Coaching and guide you towards unlocking your organisations hidden potential.


[See summary table at the bottom of this page]


Coaching – A significant ongoing investment for a small number of beneficiaries

 Coaching Costs

A good coach can make a huge difference to an individual. However, getting a good quality coach often takes a significant investment. A 2019 report into UK Executive Coaching fees found that the mean average cost for a 2-hour coaching session was £1110. A basic level coach (only suitable for graduates and junior managers) costs from around £500 a session, increasing to £1475 for a high-quality experienced and trained coach.

Coaching Objectives

Coaches are ‘Performance Driven’ – their aim is to focus on a commercial objective, typically for one individual. Due to the significant investment required, coaches are generally only available to the most senior members of an organisation in the hope that value is achieved by that leader spreading their influence.

Coaching Limitations

Whilst there is no doubt that Coaches can do a fantastic job, many organisations are missing some of the great value that is already present in their organisations. Value that creates significant additional benefits and be accessed for a much lower investment.


Mentoring – An affordable investment, organisational wide reach and extra benefits.

 Additional Benefits of Mentoring

Well-structured and implemented internal mentoring programme also endeavor to develop your people and achieve commercial objectives, just like Coaching. However, Mentoring has lots of extra benefits unlocking your organisations hidden potential. Mentoring can:

  • Become a web of Connection, connecting individuals and departments.
  • Carry the culture through your organisation.
  • Facilitate multi-generational learning, sharing and understanding.
  • Become the catalyst to extract and share the wisdom, networks and experience held within your organisation.
  • Identify and nurture leaders.
  • Become the framework to quickly disseminate information and teach skills – something that is increasingly important in our fast-changing workplaces.
  • Mentoring builds in the agility to manage and process change.
  • Increase diversity, inclusion and social mobility – studies have shown that mentoring is the most effective intervention to increase board level representation of minority groups.
  • Be goal oriented and demonstrate real progression for mentees
  • Develop the people management and leadership skills of the mentor at the same time as developing the mentee.
  • Become available to everyone at every level of the business, not just management.
  • Mentoring is proven to increase the retention and engagement levels of both the mentors and mentees – reducing recruitment and training costs.


Are you Making the Most Common Mentoring Mistake?

Sadly, some of us may have experienced slightly underwhelming Mentoring, or Mentoring Programmes that peter out. Often organisations assume that because they are trying to unlock their internal wisdom, then whole project can also be developed and managed internally. They spring into action pairing mentors and mentees with little additional expertise or support. Mentoring quickly turns into pleasant chats over a cup of tea, rather than structured, goal orientated progress.

To create successful mentoring that truly unlocks your organisation’s hidden potential, then an affordable upfront investment needs to be made. Mentoring experts will develop a proper framework and training; equipping Mentors and internal Mentoring Champions. With the right systems, process and skills, efficient and effective Mentoring can be unlocked.


Mentoring Costs

To instruct a mentoring expert to effectively design and implement a successful programme, including training and developing mentors, an organisation can expect to pay around £1500 per mentor. A phenomenally good investment when you consider that each Mentor will be developing both themselves and potentially many mentees.


Cost Saving more than an Investment

Research shows that when you include recruitment, training and other costs, a new employee on a salary of £27,000 typically costs a company £51,000 in their first year**. Deloitte research showed that even basic mentoring programme saw an increased in staff retention by 25% for both the mentor and mentee***. Statistically that would equate to an £12,750 saving per new employee, plus there would be an additional increased retention rate of the mentor. Developing Mentoring is as much about cost saving as it is about investment.


The Time Cost of Mentoring

Many people picture Mentoring as an extensive 2 to 3-hour meetings, eating into the limited and valuable time of our best people. However, this is not the reality. On a well-trained and structured programme effective mentoring is about meaningful 30-minute conversation focused around making progress towards an agreed goal. Having the right systems and processes in place ensures that not only is it time efficient but that both the mentor and mentee are learning through the process, making it also time effective. The process of mentoring also increases the retention of the mentor making a well-placed investment of time.



Whilst there will always be an important role for Coaches to helping companies progress forward, we must not make the mistake of ignoring the power that is already within our organisations. Effective Mentoring has the power to unlock vast value for a relatively low investment. The returns on these investments are, at the most conservative levels, at least 10-fold.

In the light of COVID-19, as the world adapts to new ways of working with more dispersed human capital, never has there been a more important time to connect and engage our people. We must ensure there are robust systems to transfer skills, wisdom and culture, whilst building in the agility to cope with change.


Below is a table outlines some of the key differences between Mentoring and Coaching:


Goal 17 develop award-winning Mentoring Programmes that succeed. We can design, implement and support effective Mentoring specifically for your organisation. Contact us now at [email protected] to arrange a call with one of our mentoring experts.





*** Deloitte Research Brief 2012


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