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Choosing Your Path: Mentor, Coach, or Trainer?

In the realm of professional development, the right guidance is crucial. Knowing whether you need a Mentor, Coach, or Trainer can make all the difference. At Mentor it Forward (#MiF), we've encountered this question frequently: What sets mentorship apart from coaching and training?

We've compiled a short yet simple questionnaire to assist you in identifying which will be suitable for your needs. Start by asking yourself the following questions and assign a score based on your responses:

1. What is my primary goal?

  • (1) Seeking holistic development and wisdom transfer.

  • (3) Aiming for specific, goal-oriented achievements.

  • (5) Focused on acquiring specific skills or knowledge.

2. What is my preferred timeframe for development?

  • (1) Embracing a long-term, ongoing relationship.

  • (3) Preferring short to medium-term, goal-driven interactions.

  • (5) Comfortable with a structured, time-bound learning environment.

3. Do I want a personalised relationship?

  • (1) Desiring a personal, enduring connection.

  • (3) Seeking a professional, shorter-term relationship.

  • (5) Open to a formal, instructor-led setting.

4. Am I looking for broader or specific guidance?

  • (1) Seeking broad, diverse advice for personal and professional growth.

  • (3) Focused on specific goals or challenges.

  • (5) Aiming for specific skill acquisition in a particular field.

5. How do I prefer to learn and grow?

  • (1) Embracing conversational, reflective discussions.

  • (3) Open to questioning and challenging to prompt self-discovery.

  • (5) Comfortable with structured curriculum, demonstrations, and practical exercises.

Now, let's sum up your score:

Score Range


5 to 10

Mentoring: Seek holistic development, wisdom, and personal growth.

11 to 20

Coaching: Aim for specific, goal-oriented achievements.

21 and above

Training: Focus on acquiring specific skills or knowledge.

Decision-Making Cheat Sheet: Understanding the Differences






​Holistic development, wisdom, and personal growth.

​Goal-oriented, specific objectives and skill enhancement.

​Technical proficiency, specific skills, and knowledge.


​Personal and long-term relationship. Mentor provides guidance.

Professional and typically shorter-term relationship. Coach aids in goal achievement.

Formal, structured, and often instructor-led environment.


Broader, covering various aspects of personal and professional life.

Specific, targeting defined goals and skill enhancement.

Narrow, focusing on specific skills or knowledge in a field.


Long-term and ongoing, often spanning the mentee's career journey.

Short to medium-term, addressing immediate goals or challenges.

Defined and structured, with a specific duration for completion.


Relationship-based, with mentor sharing experiences and wisdom.

Goal-driven, with a focus on achieving specific outcomes.

Curriculum-based, with a structured plan for skill acquisition.


Holistic professional and personal development, wisdom transfer.

Achievement of specific goals, enhanced performance.

Acquisition of specific skills and knowledge in a given field.


Flexible and adaptive to the mentee's needs and aspirations.

Adaptive to the coachee's goals, evolving as objectives change.

Structured with less flexibility due to predefined curriculum.

Interaction Style

Conversational and reflective, driven by shared experiences.

Questioning and challenging, designed to prompt self-discovery.

Instructor-led, involving demonstrations and practical exercises.

Note: Use this cheat sheet as a guide; however, individual preferences and contexts may influence the choice between mentoring, coaching, and training.


Unlock the Power of Mentorship:

Whether you reached a Mentorship, Coaching or Training score, no need to make a rush decision. Let's start by applying online; evaluating all options to identify the most relevant one for your needs. Explore the transformative potential of mentorship with Mentor it Forward (MiF). Apply now - Mentee Application | Mentor it Forward

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