Individuals seeking jobs need to form their own network of mentors and coaches. Knowing the difference between the two support roles is important for the mentor, coach and protégé.
Most of my mentors and those I mentor have developed over long periods of time. Some of my mentors are nearby and others live thousands of miles away. I’ve looped back to several of them during each of my major career decisions. Importantly, they and I stay in touch in between those conversations. A coach normally is a shorter term arrangement. I’ve often played coach by providing one-time or occasional advice, such as reviewing a resume. Both roles consume considerable time for those willing to be mentors or coaches, so it is important for those seeking either advice to carefully approach potential mentors or coaches.
Initially, recruit individuals who know you well and genuinely care about your success–perhaps family members or family friends. Don’t make cold call requests. Once you’re employed, its easier to identify and recruit mentors from within your organization or other firms with whom you work.
Sunday’s New York Times provides excellent advice on how to identify and best use mentors and coaches. The article discusses roles and expectations of the mentor and protégé. The article also discusses reverse mentorship where talented younger employees work with more senior employees. I have benefited considerably over the years from such mentoring and coaching.