Show Menu

Mentoring, Coaching and Counselling Cheat Sheet by

core     mentoring     coaching     counselling     characteristics


The above question can be of great confusion for the person seeking the services of someone who can increase their life effect­ive­ness. It is a signif­icant question that is often asked by the people. The simple answer may be one or all of the above, although it is usually not recommend seeking these services all at one time. Over the last decade (Austr­alian Institute of Family Studies 2008), there has been an increase in the number of people who are seeking guidance services and knowing ‘who to turn to when’ can be confusing for both clients and profes­sio­nals. To make this process easier, it can be helpful to have a good working unders­tanding of the simila­rities and differ­ences, as well as knowing when to refer someone to another service.


Coaching is generally a structured one to one process which is time limited, and whereby an individual wants to enhance their perfor­man­ce/­skills and seeks this through an experi­enced coach in the area requiring improv­ement (i.e. leader­ship, technical, behavi­oural).

Life Coaching

Life coaching is similar to Coaching with a broader view of the person’s life which covers managing life change, personal success and tends to be solution focused. Life coaching can also be a longer term arrang­ement.


Mentoring is the relati­onship between a more senior and junior person within indust­ry/­pro­fes­sio­n/f­aith. Mentoring is less structured than coaching and is typically a longer term relati­onship with a broader focus of career and potent­ially personal areas. Mentoring looks at providing an ongoing focused guidance and support for the mentee.


Counse­lling is typically a longer term engagement and focuses on the person as a whole rather than just specific aspect of life or perfor­mance. Counse­lling looks at the psycho­logical dimensions and has a focus on helping people identify root cause with the aim of dealing with the issue or helping the person with coping strate­gies. Counse­llo­rs/­Psy­cho­logists are specif­ically trained at university level in therap­eutic skills and belong to profes­sional peak, to which they are accoun­table.


LIfe Coaching
Short term relati­onship
short to long term relati­onship
Longer tern relati­onship
Longer tern relati­onship
Focused enanched perfor­man­ce/­skills
Life focused. Personal success, life change
Focus of career and potent­ially personal
Psycho­logical dimension focus on root causes
Experi­enced coach in particular skill
Solution focused
Ongoing support & guidance
Observ­ation of psycho­logical & medical conditions
Experience coach in help people relalized their goals
Senior (exper­ienced) & junior relati­onship for industry, profession or faith
Coping strategies

Five Core Charac­ter­istics

There are five core charac­ter­istics or skills for Coaches, Mentors and Counse­llors to follow.

Skills for Coaches, Mentors and Counse­llors

1) Listening skills
The art of listening can be a really difficult skill to acquire, however is essential across all the services. The ability to truly listen to the person without interf­erence, mind wondering or listening with self-i­nte­rests in mind, is the art of listening. The art of listening enables the ability to reframe statements to improve the person’s unders­tanding and learning and is an essential component for Coaches, Mentors and Counse­llors.
2) Powerful questi­ons
The ability to ask powerful questions at the right time in the right way is a core skill required. It is through these powerful questions that we get to dig deeper in our unders­tanding of the person, their own unders­tanding of themselves and their needs in a meaningful way.
3) Building Trusting Relati­ons­hips
One of the core skills for Mentors, Coaches and Counse­llors is the ability to build authentic trusting relati­onships with the person. That is an ability to create a strong foundation incorp­orating openness, honesty and respect. To build trusting relati­onships which are effective often requires two-way sharing.
4) Facili­tat­ion
The combin­ation of listening skills, asking powerful questions to promote own learning and building effective trusting relati­onships all with a focus of helping people move from current state towards their own defined goal, is facili­tation. In this process; Mentors, Coaches and Counse­llors will need to demons­trate skills in flexib­ility, patience, observing and respec­tfully challe­nging as required.
5) Change Agent
Our Brain wants to minimise any stresses and it looks for ways to make things less painful, therefore it likes to resist and avoid change (Rock & Donde). Through both following Steps 1-4 and becoming accustomed to the ‘Stages of Change’ model (Proch­aska, Redding, Evers); Mentors, Coaches and Counse­llors are able to take on the role as Change Agents and help people follow a process towards effective change. The vast majority of people are unable to go directly to Action and they will need to follow a process whereby they develop strategies and solutions in small steps towards action. “Change is a process, not an event” (Kurt Lewin).

Stages of Change

When to refer to another service

Unders­tanding the differ­ences is crucial in order for Mentors, Coaches and Counse­llors to be able to identify when the person may need to be referred on to another service area. This is especially important when it comes to identi­fying when someone needs to seek counse­ling. Early identi­fic­ation of the need for referral is in the best interests of the person and their ongoing develo­pment. This does not mean that people cannot be seeing a counsellor and mentor at the same time. There may actually be signif­icant benefits achieved for the individual when two services are simult­ane­ously sought. However, when an issue emerges that is beyond the ‘here and now’ or the profes­sional competence of the helper it is wise to refer a client on.

Download the Mentoring, Coaching and Counselling Cheat Sheet

2 Pages

PDF (recommended)

Alternative Downloads

Share This Cheat Sheet!



No comments yet. Add yours below!

Add a Comment

Your Comment

Please enter your name.

    Please enter your email address

      Please enter your Comment.

          Related Cheat Sheets

          rSpec Core API and Mock API Cheat Sheet

          More Cheat Sheets by Davidpol

          Mistakes That Make Your QR Codes Worthless Cheat Sheet