Have you ever felt like you needed a sounding board? Someone to bounce your ideas off and to explore opportunities with? Someone who not only gets it, but also wants the best for you and your business?

As a business coach, a common question from my clients is “How do I choose if I need a business coach or mentor?

Taking Off

Business owners are often seeking to take their business to the next level – better profits, working smarter, and most importantly? Setting up the business to provide long-term freedom from the day-to-day operational tasks that suck-up time.

So, how do I choose if I need a business coach or a mentor?

At the outset, let me say: good business coaches are also good mentors. But good mentors do not necessarily have to be good business coaches.

Let’s look at the differences at the top level.

Business Coaches

Business coaches are designed to achieve a result within a time-frame, and tend to be task driven. Most importantly however, and possibly of the most value you ask? Business coaches aim to transfer skill and knowledge to the business owner and their employees. Business coaches should influence the business owner in how they think about their business operationally. And, whilst they may work to an overall plan, they need to be multi skilled and experienced to ensure their knowledge transfer is rounded, credible and trust-worthy.


Mentors are focused on personal development and relationships: at work, at home, and in the community. They tend to be transformational, and ultimately more challenging personally as to why you do the things you do. A good mentor will ask you to look at whether your personal values align to your actions, and help you work out their affect on your leadership skills. Trust is an essential part of mentoring and as such, mentoring tends to be for extended periods.

The value derived from a mentor may be more difficult to pinpoint and quantify, although the following is absolutely true: the culture and values within an organisation are always clearer when I can identify – with clarity – what I stand for and what my values and priorities are. A mentor helps an individual better understand their role and values, and how these impact how they operate inside a business.

What Would You Choose?

Business coaches tend to be independent of a company, while mentors may be sourced internally (a senior employee or a buddy), or externally (from the business community or other well respected part of the community). Each come with benefits of perspective.

So what would you choose?

I have learned from my clients that to be a good business coach, I need to mentor business owners as well.

I want you to add six figures and beyond to your business, so I want you as owner to challenge not only how you do business, but why you do what you do. As a SME owner, the biggest influence on your business is YOU! To become a better leader, and to move your business forward, each owner needs to grow not only their skills, but their leadership style simultaneously.