Mentoring verses Coaching

Improving educators one educator at a time!

Professional Growth and Development

Professional growth and development is extremely important in the education world. Education is an ever revolving door of change. As of late, Common Core State Standards have been adopted by most states, teacher performance assessments are being required for certification, and most schools and districts have some type of teacher evaluation program for current teachers. All of these changes mean that teachers must stay afloat on all of the new standards, requirements, changes, trends, and best practices available to them. But, HOW does one district, school, and teacher incorporate all of these changes into the classroom?
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· “Mentoring can be viewed as a developmental relationship that is sustained and valued for humanistic reasons” (Mullen, para. 1, pg. 7). Mentoring is a mutual agreement between at least two people where growth can occur on multiple levels. There are various theories for mentoring. Most mentoring theories tend to fall into two categories:

o Traditional Mentoring Theory- “Traditional mentoring theory encompasses skills-based, goals-oriented learning passed down through the generations” (Mullen, para. 2, pg. 10). Traditional mentoring theory has many similarities to coaching such as focusing on skills and goals for growth. Traditional mentors could be described as advocates, advisors, and promoters (Mullen, 2012).

o Alternative Mentoring Theories- “Alternative mentoring theories are value laden, promoting the values of collaboration, co-mentorship, democratic learning, humanistic mentoring, and shared leadership” (Mullen, para. 4, pg. 15). Some alternative mentoring theories include collaborative mentoring theory, mentoring mosaic theory, multiple-level co-mentoring theory, and synergistic leadership theory. These theories all include collaboration, shared energy and information, equal partners collaborating for success and growth.

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"Most formal, professional coaching is carried out by qualified people who work with clients to improve their effectiveness and performance, and help them achieve their full potential" (MindTools LTD, para. 8, pg. 1). Coaching in the educational world can have many benefits to the growth and development of educators. There are various types of school-based coaching, such as facilitative, instructional, collaborative, consultative, and transformational (Mullen, 2012). Instructional coaches focus on a particular area, such as math, and will instruct best practices in pedagogy and strategies. Coaches can be beneficial for professional development in the educational world.
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Which way?

The real goal of all mentoring and coaching programs is to encourage growth and development in educators. Each school has to decide for itself whether it would rather use a mentoring program or coaching program within its professional development plans. Both mentoring and coaching are a vital part to school improvement.