The difference between coaching, mentorship and supervision

Coaching                                                  Mentorship                                            Supervision


Coaches adopt a question-based approach to develop the person’s maximum potential by changing their behaviour and way of thinking. The coach does not work with pre-determined targets and solutions; these are developed with the client, who owns the process. Coaches do not require knowledge of the field.


Unlike coaches, mentors function as a sounding board in order to provide advice and share their knowledge of a specific field. A mentor has a good grounding in the company, industry or field and is often seen as a role model.


Unlike coaching, strictly speaking supervision involves someone with experience supervising a less experienced person operating in the same profession or field; for example, a Bachelor of Medicine being supervised by a qualified colleague.

Coaches will often cross the line which separates coaching and supervision. However, the main thing is that the person being coached sets the agenda, with the coach leading the process without dictating content.