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Do You Need Professional Career Coaching or Mentoring to Get Ahead?

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If you want to advance your career, there’s only so much you can do alone. Professional development involves training from experts, ongoing education, mentorship, and career coaching.

We already begin to see the value of mentoring and coaching early on, at the undergraduate level or in high school. As we progress in our careers, professional guidance becomes more valuable than ever.

Many people confuse professional coaching and mentoring, seeing them as essentially the same thing. However, these are actually quite different, though each is equally valuable in helping you to build a successful career.

career coaching

Why Career Coaching is Valuable

Remember when you were in high school and your guidance counsellor helped you define your career direction, draft the perfect resume, and craft a cover letter for the first time? A career coach is kind of like this for working professionals, helping you develop career goals and work out how you can get there.

A good career coach also acts as an accountability partner to keep you on track to meet your career goals. These experts most often work with people looking to make a move in their career or transition to a new sector.

They have a deep knowledge of how to shift careers and what personal and professional attributes best match a particular job. Career coaches are skilled in aligning the skills and passions of individuals with what they are best suited to do.


Why Having Mentors is Important

Coaches and mentors help in different ways, but both have the overall goal to help you to advance your career. Unlike career coaches who don’t necessarily have a background in your field but rather provide more general advice, a mentor is typically a successful professional in your industry, or the sector that you want to work in.

They can use their experience to give you career advice specific to your industry, offer valuable perspectives on the issues you’re facing in the workplace, and provide constructive feedback.

A good mentor will also leverage their connections to help you build your network and find new opportunities. While you normally contract the services of a professional coach at certain pivotal points in your career, you will build lasting relationships with your mentors which can last for decades.


At EDHEC, participants in each online programs benefit from a tailored online coaching and mentoring system.

Is a Professional Coach or Mentor Essential for My Career?

Both professional coaches and mentors can be invaluable in helping you advance your career. A good career coach pushes you out of your comfort zone and encourages you to take risks in order to discover your hidden potential. After all, you can’t move forward if you are standing still.

A career coach can provide that nudge you need to progress in your career. They will help you recognise your potential and realise what you are capable of doing.

On the other hand, mentors provide ongoing support and advice throughout your career. They give you constructive criticism when you need it, suggest alternatives you may not have thought of, and help you identify new opportunities. They provide guidance, whether in navigating the day-to-day of your job or making critical career decisions.

Therefore, although you can get by without a career coach or mentor, having one or preferably both of these professionals to guide you will make all the difference in maximizing your potential. After all, talented athletes could train by themselves, but Olympic gold medal winners are always supported by a team of coaches and mentors!


When Should I Seek Career Coaching?

Unlike a mentor, you’ll usually only consult a professional coach at certain points during your career. So how do you know when it’s the right time to reach out to a career coach?

The simple answer to this question is that you should consult a professional coach whenever you feel you need to. Sure, most people work with a coach when facing a huge turning point in their career. However, you can hire a professional to guide you whenever you feel uncertain about your professional future and opportunities for advancement.


Key Takeaways

We all come to certain points in our careers when we’re at a crossroads. At crucial junctures like these, career coaching can help us to decide the best career direction and forge a path forward.

Having a professional coach and a mentor is not mutually exclusive: in fact, these two approaches are complementary. Both coaches and mentors offer different and equally valuable kinds of support that will help you to advance your career.

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