Coaching vs Mentoring


Most virtual assistants want or need coaching and/or mentoring, but what’s the difference between the two? The definitions are close in meaning, but in general, terms, a virtual assistant coach is a person giving another virtual assistant instruction. Most coaches have expertise in a specific area and want to relay that information to someone just starting out in the business. Mentoring implies, and again the definition is close to coaching, giving advice or suggestions.

Mentoring coaching

What this means is that if a virtual assistant is looking for someone who has experience as a virtual assistant, then she should look for a coach. If, on the other hand, the virtual assistant is comfortable with her business, but needs help in creating a business plan or help setting goals for her business, she would be better off using the skills of a mentor. In general, mentors encourage and guide you through your plans.

At last month’s meeting of the New England Virtual Assistants in Massachusetts, the speaker, Christine Bearse, was both a virtual assistant and a coach. She is also developing her speaking skills beyond coaching. As a speaker, she wants to speak about coaching – what it is, the benefits of coaching, and how she can help any individual. Her presentation was extremely interesting, because she touched on several key points that are common in most virtual assistants.

So many times virtual assistants feel they have to be all things to all people, but in reality, they also need help with certain decisions or maybe even direction. It’s difficult to ask for help, even if you know you desperately need it.  As a businesspeople, virtual assistants feel they have to handle everything themselves. They want more business, so they wear that persona. Most virtual assistants have training as administrative professionals and they handled many corporate and executive tasks including project management. When they own their own businesses, they feel they can do it all.

This is not necessarily true. Most virtual assistants specialize or have a niche, so their efforts are concentrated around certain tasks or projects. This doesn’t mean that they don’t know about many other software programs or systems, but they focus on certain aspects of the business. If the business grows too fast or the niche changes, then the virtual assistant has quite a bit of work to do to get back on track.

That’s where a coach or mentor come in handy. The coach or mentor will schedule some time to talk to the virtual assistant and find out what the problems are and then come up with some suggestions or advice. Again, depending on the issue, the virtual assistant would need either a coach or mentor.


So what do you look for in a coach or mentor? Look for someone who is familiar with your type of business. Also, look for someone, who is easy to talk to and is accessible. Just because they’re a coach or mentor doesn’t mean they’re the one for you. You should set up a free consultation phone call or meeting and find out how they can help you.

Many times virtual assistants, who are looking for advice, will just pick a coach or mentor off the internet or find someone in their local area. That’s not going to help them, if the coach/mentor doesn’t have the right experience to help them. Just as in every aspect of the virtual assistant business, the virtual assistant has to research and verify information to find a qualified coach or mentor.

Interlocking Hands

The hardest part after you realize you need help with your business is finding someone qualified to help you and then asking for his or her help.


Do you use a coach or mentor?




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