Being someone’s guide is not an easy duty. To be able to offer information and wisdom, you must be experienced and wise enough, and you must also know how to share your knowledge and wisdom well enough to be thoroughly understood. You must also know how to approach people, inspire and encourage them, and make them feel better about themselves without being overbearing. You must also walk a fine line between enclosing individuals and keeping them away from the incorrect road in life but also allowing them to develop on their own by making a few mistakes along the journey to success.
You can be a guide to a potential follower in a variety of ways, depending on what you want to accomplish and how much control you’re ready to give up. Mentoring, coaching, or directing are the three primary pathways you can follow as a guide. Although these three sorts of guidance are frequently jumbled or interchanged in conversation and the media, there are important differences between them that you should be aware of and investigate.
In mentoring or mentorship, you’re dealing with a relationship between a mentor, who has greater experience, knowledge, and wisdom, and a protégé, who has less experience, is usually younger (though not always), and can be flighty and uncertain. A mentor is usually more well-known than the protégé, or more knowledgeable in a certain profession. The mentor then becomes the protégé’s teacher and provides as a guide for the protégé to improve in the profession. A mentor will frequently teach by example on the job: for example, a mentor opera singer will have a protégé whom the opera singer will take on while the opera singer is at the pinnacle of his or her career and the protégé is just getting started. The protégé will hopefully succeed one day by imitating the opera singer.
Coaching, on the other hand, is a guidance process in which a person, acting as a leader, supervises a group of people, or even a single individual, with the goal of reaching a specific goal. Coaching differs from mentoring in that a coach is usually out of or finished with his or her job and is thus teaching a younger generation based on his or her own experiences. Another distinction between coaching and mentoring is that coaching frequently has a single goal in mind, but mentoring’s goals may be more abstract and broad.
Coaching is most commonly observed in sports teams, where a former good player now helps other players succeed in their game, with the goal of the team winning as many games as possible. Another popular coaching technique is that of life coaching. In this situation, a person isn’t necessarily deceased and ready to pass on their knowledge to the living. Instead, a person who is already successful and probably ready to retire is teaching others on how to make their life work again. In a variant of life coaching, a person who has already faced all of his or her fears can also coach persons who are still living in fear, helping them to get over their anxieties and emerge as better people.
Finally, the directing process entails the instruction of a higher person to a lower person. In a mentor-protégé relationship, the mentor serves as a guide rather than a commanding officer; a guide will lead a student down the proper road but not directly point it out. In the coach-team connection, the coach serves as a motivator and even a trainer, but not as someone who tells the team what to do directly. A boss-employee relationship would be more defined in directing, especially when the higher person is instructing the lower person on how to conduct his or her life.