What Are The Main Differences between a Business Consultant and Business Mentor
Consulting and mentoring are processes that are aimed at empowering a person so that they can plan their future and believe that it can be achieved. But there is a difference between Business Consulting and Business Mentoring although people tend to confuse both as the same thing. The main difference is that Business Consulting tends to be a short term task based process and Business Mentoring is usually a long-term relationship between the client and mentor.
Let us focus on the differences:
Business Consulting is short-term, or project based and Mentoring is long term:
Mentoring requires a level of trust to develop over time between the mentor and the mentee. During this process they can, and do, learn a lot about one another, which cements the relationship leading often to lifelong friendships and contact. The relationship initially develops based on an imparting of information and knowledge but often becomes very personal and encompasses life skill coaching too. Thus, to build that level of trust, takes time and mutual respect and understanding. Business Consulting, on the other hand, requires less time, due often to budgetary and project based time constraints. Business Consultants tend to iron out certain problems in the work environment of the client and the relationship ends when the problem is solved.
Business Consulting is Task Oriented, Mentoring is relationship oriented:
A Consultant’s main object is to help the client achieve some specific and measurable goals. Consultants tend to help the client develop specific skill sets required to achieve the goal. The consultant’s job is done when the goal is achieved. On the other hand, Mentors usually help the mentee discover their path on their own. Mentoring is a two way beneficial relationship and thus is not aimed at achieving any specific goal.
Consulting focuses more on work issues, while Mentoring usually focused on career and personal development:
Business Consulting is impartial, and focuses mainly on the improvement of the work environment so that the goal is achieved in an efficient and effective way. Mentoring on the other hand focuses more on the mentee and his/her personal development, so that he/she can find out the way to improve themselves on their own. Mentors are facilitators and biased in your favour.
Consulting is more structured, Mentoring is more informal:
Business Consulting takes a formal path and discusses only work related issues. There are specific agendas that are discussed in each meeting with the business consultant and the consultant monitors and assesses the progress of the client and advices on ways to improve in specific areas. Mentoring is similar to giving advice to a friend or a family member – the person’s well-being is the main concern. Mentors are usually involved on a personal level with the mentee and often many personal and intimate details are discussed which are necessary to allow the mentor to provide individually tailored guidance.
The difference in Experience needed:
Mentors need to be more personally involved with the client and that requires prior knowledge about the client and his work-life balance. The mentor is always more experienced and qualified than the mentee in the same field. Thus, a mentor needs to have the experience often gained over many years to be able to identify and properly guide his student. A consultant, being less personally involved, need not be experienced in the same line of work as the client, unless the consulting is skill specific. The organization’s/client’s goals and objectives needs to be fulfilled and that is the area of expertise one looks for in a consultant: Knowledge on how to improve the efficiency of the business.
So which one do you need: Business Consultant or Business Mentor?
If your company employs a lot of talented professionals and sales are not up to the mark, consumer’s expectations are not being met on time and there is a general lack of competency in a specific area, then it is appropriate that you hire a Business Consultant. They will scrutinize the different problems that are ailing your business and guide the employees to increase their efficiency. Business Consultants are also required when a new system or program is introduced into the work place or when an official requires training in acquiring a new skill with added responsibility.
On the other hand, Business Mentors are often needed for new recruits and hence require assistance in both personal and work life balance. The mentors assist the company in retaining the knowledge and expertise of its employees by passing it on to the new recruits through the mentoring.
In conclusion it can be said that Consulting and Mentoring are not the same. Each has a specific area of application and their methods of implementation are also different. Though their ultimate goal is to improve the business as a whole, one is a two-way beneficial relationship where the mentor shares knowledge and experience and gives advice, and the other focuses more on the business performance and how to improve it.