So who do I choose?
Well that is a difficult question to answer as its based on your requirements.
If you are looking to improve your negotiations, communication, leadership, or conflict resolution skills, then you should probably be looking at approaching a coach.
If you are looking to increase profits, reduce operational expenses, improve performance, and any other practical advice within your business, you would be better going with a mentor.
What questions should I ask of a Coach or Mentor?
Again, this depends on what your requirements are but here are a few basic questions if you an entrepreneur looking for help within your business:
Which would I prefer?
This is a personal preference, and you would need to understand that as an entrepreneur over 25 years that I have tried both coaches and mentors. I even admittingly qualified as a life and business coach years ago.
However, when it came to my own businesses and I needed help, none of the coaches I approached could provide me the hands-on practical advice that I got from the mentors I hired. I wanted someone to hold my hand and show me how to do things and warn me of risks. Someone to bounce ideas off and that would not coddle me but hold me accountable and push me to my limits and exceed them.
Yes my coaches taught me many skills from negotiation, communication, presentation skills, NLP, sales techniques, etc, etc and each were very valuable skills to learn, however when it came to writing a business plan, or creating financial forecasts and understanding financials, cutting costs and managing taxes, streamlining production, managing and scaling my businesses, and bringing in customers, all that advice came from mentors.
I wanted to learn and get advise from people that were more successful than me, that had been there and done that, that could guide me through the pitfalls, etc. For this I got mentors. To me that was invaluable and probably the best investment in my life.
Now not everything I learn came from mentors and coaches, a major amount was from books, courses, conferences and simple doing it, failing, and learning, and each entrepreneur should not solely rely on their coach or mentor to further educate themselves.
At the end of the day this is a personal preference and based on what you want to achieve in your business or life.
Both coaches and mentors are valuable assets to have by your side, but you need to decide which is more likely to meet your needs and lead you to success based on your need. If you need both, then get both. It really dependent on that you want and your goals.
It is important to note that this is written in the context of an entrepreneur seeking a coach or mentor, and not as a business looking for a coach or mentor for their staff.