Do I Need A Mentor or A Coach?

Have you been asking, “Do I need a ministry mentor or a coach?” I have been in full time  ministry for 25 years and I still ask that question. I am working through the process for myself and thought I’d pass on what I am learning.

What’s the difference between a mentor and coach? I think a mentor is someone who  who is committed, long term to helping people get the bet out of the their life. A coach, on the other hand, looks at what you’re “putting on the field”, the x;s and o’s,  and offers an opinion about whether our goals and our plan/strategy match up. Essentially, I think mentors work inside out and a coach works outside in.

One way I determine if I need a mentor or a coach is to listen to my own whining. Yes, our sighs, groaning, and questions can tell us what we need,

Mentor Type Questions

1. Why do I feel so directionless?

2. Why aren’t my goals making me happy?

3. What do I do in this situation?

4. What do I do with this failure?

5. Who will walk with me through this thing?

Mentoring is a two way street. We have to risk something to have a mentoring relationship. We have to be honest about where we are in life. If we’re saying that “no one will mentor me”  it might be because we don’t want a mentor, we just want someone to fix us.

Coaching Type Questions

1. How do I set up my small groups?

2. Where do I reach teens?

3. When should I plan my outreach?

4. Why should I do small groups instead of large weekly meetings?

Coaching is about mechanics. There may be some mentoring involved in your coaching but it’s mostly about technique, like a quarterback coach working on the three step drop or how to slide out of the pocket so you don’t get crushed by a linebacker.

In the end, there’s some coaching in mentoring and some mentoring in coaching. The questions becomes. “Which of these do I need in my life right now?” and “Where can I find one?”

We’ll discuss this more in my week long focus on mentoring and coaching.

Which of these roles do you think you need  in your life right now?

What are the questions you have been whining about asking yourself?

If you are needing a ministry mentor/coach, I can put my 25 plus years in youth ministry to work for you. Check out my deal here

Click HERE for the next post in this series: Do Senior Pastors Make The Best Mentors?

 

 

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6 Replies to “Do I Need A Mentor or A Coach?”


  1. Hey Paul! Great thoughts. I think that I need a mentoring coach. Now, before you say my answer is cheating; hear me out! 🙂 I think that because I’m young, I need someone to coach me and teach me how to do ministry. But I also need a person intuitive enough to understand HOW I’m doing it and call me out on the things I need to work on. I think that I, personally, KNOW what needs to get done; I’m totally Type A and can scope a situation well. But, I need someone who is going to force me to follow through and help me be secure in my decision-making. That’s where I struggle.


  2. Hey Heather! You hit the nail on the head. I think we all share the same goal, to have confidence in our competence, and many times it takes a mentor to call us out on the How (mechanics) and the Why (motivation). I think you’d be a trip to mentor! Tons of potential and fire LOL.

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