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Guiding people through the right way through life can be a daunting task for any person who is tasked to do it. A person who has to do the guiding has a lot of delicate balances to strike: he or she has to be strong enough to reprimand the person who is following him or her when that follower is not being obedient or is straying from the right path; on the other hand, he or she has to sometimes allow the follower the chance to stray, so that the follower can gain experience and thus be much wiser. There are many different things that a person has to do to guide his or her follower or followers, and these concepts of guidance are covered under coaching and mentoring.

The process of mentoring involves the relationship and bonding between master and pupil, a togetherness that is more commonly referred to as mentor and protégé. A mentor is someone who may sometimes be older, but who is certainly more knowledgeable, more wise, and perhaps even more serene and settled than what might predictably be a less knowledgeable, less wise, and flighty protégé. The mentor’s task is to be the guide for the inexperienced protégé: as the protégé learns more and more from the mentor, the protégé is farther thrust into greatness.

The mentor-protégé relationship has long existed in history, and has been glorified by pop media. There are also many different mentor-protégé relationships in the modern world. For instance, when an employee first enters a company or business, he or she is adopted by someone who has been in the company or business for a long while. Because a new employee might experience culture shock, or might not be prepared for the rigors of the current workplace, the mentor serves as a buffer and guide through how the company or business operates, making the transition easier for the protégé.

Still in line with workplace relationships, an existing employee might show potential as someone who could one day lead, or who could move on and be great elsewhere. In this case, a person experienced in the company could informally take on this employee and be his or her mentor. In this relationship, the mentor will teach the protégé the necessary skills to advance in the workplace, so that one day, the protégé might perhaps take the mentor’s place, advance elsewhere in the hierarchy, or move on to another company and do even better.

The concept of coaching, on the other hand, is quite different from that of mentoring. In coaching, a method is employed in which a leader or overseer directs the movements of a person or a group of persons. In coaching, the instruction and training given are done with a definite end goal in mind. The methods of directing people’s movements and thought process might include giving motivational talks. There are also ways to train people in order to make them perform better, such as through seminars or workshops, or through practice, such as those done by sports teams.

In mentoring, a mentor teaches a protégé how to live better or how to function better. In coaching, perhaps better seen as a more specific method of mentoring, the coach guides his or her team in order for them to meet an end goal. For sports coaches, this will mean victory in a game. For marriage coaches, this will mean a stronger marital bond. For family coaches, this will mean a stronger familial bond, between parents and children, and sometimes, amongst the children themselves.

There are many different kinds of mentoring and coaching, as well as different techniques associated with each. For more information, you can talk to professional mentors and coaches, or do more research online.

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