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The difference between supervising, mentoring and coaching

Mentoring is an informal relationship between a mentor and a mentee that does not require any specific qualifications and tends to be less structured. It is an equal partnership. A mentor is someone who has more experience in a particular area which they pass on to the mentee. Ideally, the mentor is based at a different institution than the one at which the mentee is studying or working. The basic goals of the mentoring relationship are determined by the mentee according to his/her individual needs and these goals may not be directly related to the field of study. Those can be, for example, obstacles in personal life.

Mentoring is not only about exchanging experiences in the main field, but it is often useful to find an expert in an area that the mentee does not understand so well – it offers a unique opportunity to get a better orientation in a related field or perhaps to find out how to implement the business side of a scientific project.

The coach provides guidance to help a client to reach his or her full potential by providing suggestions and inspiration. Unlike a mentor, a coach usually has no direct experience or knowledge in the professional field of the client. Coaching is usually more structured and the meetings are fixed. Unlike a mentoring relationship, it is typical in coaching that the coach asks most of the questions of his/her client.

 A supervising relationship requires the qualification of the supervisor; the relationship is very formal and aims to lead the student to a successful defense of his/her thesis.

If you have any questions, please contact the program coordinator, Anna Ničova.

Guides and handbooks

Nature's Guide for Mentors

Příručka pro mentory časopisu Nature.

Mentoring Handbook of Good Practice; Birkbeck College, University of London

Příručka o dobré praxi s mentoringovým programem na Birkbeck College.

Introduction to Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors and Mentees; American Psychological Association

Příručka Americké Psychologické Asociace (APA) pro mentory a mentees.

Guidelines on mentoring for newly appointed staff; University of Cambridge

Příručka HR divize University of Cambridge k mentoringu pro nové zaměstnance.

Updated: 14.1.2022 16:13, by: Jan Hajíček

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