Updated: Apr 25, 2022
In recent years, many people have begun to attend courses, shifting from the physical classroom before Covid to now mostly online. As a result, the words mentor and mentorship appear across all coaching platforms, regardless of the topic.
But... how do you define someone as a mentor or just a coach?
A true mentor is someone you look up to because of their knowledge, wisdom, integrity, and unique perspective on how to turn your ideas into reality. A true mentor does not seek remuneration in the form of benefit, recognition, or monetary compensation; your success is enough for them.
Choosing a mentor should be done with care. A mentor must look out for your best interests, not their own. And, as a mentee, make sure you know your mentor well, particularly in terms of integrity and the real person behind the scenes.
There are a few traits to help you identify if you have found yourself a true mentor, or just a coach.
Someone willing to mentor you in exchange for payment: This type of 'mentor' probably has very good knowledge but they are far more likely to tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to know. ~ Coaching you are just a part of their program and work.
Someone with narcissistic tendencies: This type of 'mentor' is obsessed with personal accomplishments, authority, prestige, and greed. ~ Coaching you is a way for them to feel good while increasing their wealth and fame.
Someone who does not have time to listen to you or is unable to provide you with additional support, information, or assistance unless you pay more. ~ Coaching you are simply a lucrative business for them.
This is not to say that attending courses is pointless, but you should recognize whether the people assisting you are doing so because they see the potential in you and genuinely want to see you succeed, or simply because you paid for the program or because you are nothing more than an assignment or a paying customer to them.
So, before you follow your peers and refer to someone as a 'mentor,' make sure you've truly found one.