Is there a difference between a coach and a mentor?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How

Have you ever had a mentor? A mentor is someone who guides you because they have been there before, and wants to help you succeed. A mentor usually has an emotional investment in being there for you. It may be an older co-worker, boss, or someone you know in a field you want to learn more about. 

Let’s look at Merriam-Webster’s definition of mentor: “1. (Capitalized) A friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus’ son Telemachus. 2. a) a trusted counselor or guide. b) Tutor, coach.”  Based upon these definitions, it seems that there is no difference between a mentor and a coach.

Mentor” was a friend of Odysseus that served as a counselor or teacher.  (The Greek goddess Athena disguised herself as Mentor, but that is another story.) As for the definition of mentor, Coaching and mentoring at Agent Know How - image courtesy of Dru Bloomfieldperhaps Wikipedia says it best:  someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague, and even closer: “provide expertise to less experienced individuals to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks.”

Naturally we want to know the definition of coach as well: “2. a) A private tutor. b) One who instructs or trains (an acting coach);  especially one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a competitive sport and directs team strategy (a football coach).”  Once again, Wikipedia is spot on: “practice of supporting an individual, referred to as a coachee or client, through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result.

When we compare these definitions some clear differences emerge: 1) A mentor is a guide, a coach is a focused guide. 2) A mentor is individual-oriented, and a coach is more team-oriented. 3) A mentor counsels;  a coach trains you in action steps.

Is it possible for someone to be a coach and a mentor to one person at the same time? Absolutely. Audeliz Angie Perez, the CEO and owner of Agent Know How, is both mentor and coach to me. We were friends before we took the next step to working together. She knows how to motivate me to take action. I don’t just play on social media anymore (although that serves a purpose too) efforts are focused. I keep distractions to a minimum. Angie showed me how to achieve these things and more, and I can’t wait to see what she recommends next.

Agent Know HowInterestingly, the word "mentor" is currently ranked in the top 20% of lookups on This tells us that there is a need for the service. Are you in need of someone to help you develop an action plan for the coming year? Let's do this together! Visit Agent Know How to jump start your career now!



                                             -Lynda White, Administrative Manager

Comments (13)

Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

When I was in management supervising large groups of 80 people, I coached, mentored, guided, nudged, counseled, trained, educated, instructed, and fathered until the needs of the operation were met. I like your post and description of the dynamics that are essential to getting good business results and good personal growth too...well done

Nov 15, 2011 03:31 AM
Ellie Shorb
Compass Real Estate - Chevy Chase, MD
Realtor DC, MD & VA Luxury Home Expert

Love this - Suggested - I just hired a coach and one of the things I told him in my first session was that I hope to have/attract more mentors in my life (both personally and professionally). I see the business coach as the guy who is helping me hone my personal plan and I hope to have mentors around me in my daily work life to guide and inform as I hope to do with others for whom my expertise is helpful. I love to get and to give assistance and good advice. That is one reason I am here in AR.

Nov 15, 2011 03:35 AM
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

Well, thank you Richie! I was hired as director of social media but I totally buy in to the concept of coaching and need it myself! I think even the experts always have coaches around.

Ellie, so nice of you to suggest! Thank you. We also have a Facebook page I hope you will check us out because you sound like the type of person (positive and ambitious) we like to get to hang out with. I'm happy you got a coach that clicks with you. :)

Nov 15, 2011 03:43 AM
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

The real estate industry adopted words like "coach" and "team" some years ago for a number of reasons.  Adults (and Realtors in particular) don't like to think of themselves as being taught.  So a real estate educator is forced to don a warm-up jacket and carry a clipboard, pretending that they're a "coach".  Real estate folks just love sports analogies.


Nov 15, 2011 04:23 AM
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

LOL, Eric, let me get out my zebra-striped shirt. ;)

Nov 15, 2011 04:57 AM
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Lynda, I've been on the edge of hiring a coach to get my business back on track. I seem to mentor many but need a coach of my own.

Nov 15, 2011 06:34 AM
Mike Hill & Rita Norman
Norman- Hill Properties /Crown Key Realty - Concord, CA

As times change we might find ourselves as being the Coach and/or Mentor and then needing the Coach and/or Mentor. Either way, so long as we keep teaching and/or learning we keep growing as agents and as people. Great Post. Thanks... Mike

Nov 15, 2011 06:45 AM
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

Connie, you do very well. You have visited my profile and emailed me a couple of times checking up on me after I joined your challenge (was that in May? Doesn't seem that long ago). You have great follow up. If you feel you've gotten off track check out Angie's coaching site at and see if she is a good fit for you.

Michael, as I play the role of social media director I find myself helping people that borderlines on coaching, but I enjoy it. I leave the juicy stuff to Angie, though. You hit the nail on the head - never stop growing!

Nov 15, 2011 06:59 AM
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Lynda - Funny you should mention the zebra-striped shirt.

Last spring, I attended an education-related event in Chicago.  The day one speaker was a fairly well-known real estate educator who prefers to call himself "coach".  He showed up in class wearing the black-and-white striped referree shirt and cargo pants, with a baseball cap pulled over his forehead and a whistle around his neck.  This fellow then began "coaching" a room full of mature, experienced agents, many of whom found his presentation patronizing and dumbed-down, more of a long-winded motivational speech than a class.  People in the room began ignoring the guy and talking to one another while he was speaking. 

These "coaches" can sometimes carry their routine a bit too far.  Instead of dressing up in a clown suit in order to put their message across, they might do better if they'd concentrate on course content and curriculum and giving value.

Nov 15, 2011 07:44 AM
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

Exactly, Eric. That is a great example of what NOT to do. Not only should you add value, but you should definitely know your audience as well! There seems to be a split on the issue of motivation when it comes to coaching. I personally feel like motivation should be included, if that is what the client wants. Many of them come to us because they have lost their motivation to sell real estate because the technologies and sometimes the business itself can be overwhelming to them. We tailor our solutions with our clients. Coaching is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Nov 16, 2011 01:56 AM
Audeliz Angie Perez
Agent Know How Real Estate Coaching, Training & Mobile Apps - South Brunswick Twp, NJ
Angie Perez

Eric, I can remember the first real estate coach I was introduced to. Ever heard of Daryl Davis? I was at Triple Play, a real estate convention typically for NJ, NY and PA real estate agents, in 2006 for the first time in my RE career. Many agents in my office knew I was going to the convention and told me to check out Daryl Davis, one of the speakers. He was super energetic and comical. He came out to stadium style music and leaped on stage. I was, for all intents and purposes, a newbie back then and I responded to his style. He had good content and his own curriculum if you will. Of course, he was selling his one to one or group coaching sessions. I was apprehensive as to if I should buy coaching. My manager at the time said something like, "Why would you need "outside coaching." We have all that you need in our university section of our website." To your point, some real estate trainers or coaches have a style that will or will not resonate with different audiences. When you are presenting to an audience, specifically real estate audiences, you just never know where people are at in their real estate career or what style they will respond to. A good speaker knows how to read an audience and knows if he/she has to change it up. 

I agree with Lynda above. Coaching, in general albeit with us (AgentKnowHow) or someone else, is not a one-size fits all approach.  

P.S. I did eventually get coaching. I did an 8 week program with Ed Escobar called Sweathogs and it totally changed my business life. Over the course of the 8 weeks, I was forced to focus on the mechanics of real estate: dialogues, scripts, and how to prospect successfully like I had never done before. I had to face the music. When I started selling real estate, August 2005, I didn't have to know much about selling. The market was still booming in my area. But in August 2007, I started to feel the pinch. At that moment, the moment of pain, it was a feeling that I have never experience before, and unfortunately, it's almost already too late. At that point you definitely need coaching. But in your career, you shouldn't wait until your business is broken to fix it. I learned that lesson the hard way. But, I managed to get back on track and now assisting other agents do the same.

Nov 17, 2011 06:05 AM
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

In our office (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East), most of the top producers have coaching.

Nov 17, 2011 06:37 AM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that your Black Friday won't get too stressful and mess up the rest of your weekend!

Happy Black Friday!

Nov 25, 2011 03:01 AM

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