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Coaching and Mentoring: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

By Lisa Bertagnoli from Built In Beta, Uniting People In Tech

September 9, 2021

Your tech career can benefit from coaching and mentoring. Here’s when to seek both.

You don’t need to choose between mentoring and coaching during your journey as a tech professional. Both can offer advice and direction during critical points in your career.

Nikkee Rhody turned to coaching to boost her technical acumen when she needs it. “I reach out to people who are experts in a particular field, and tell them I’m trying to learn more about a certain skill set, for instance cybersecurity or API technicalities,” said Rhody, executive vice president of strategy at fintech company Central Payments and co-founder and managing director at fintech accelerator Falls Fintech. “The primary outcome is the ability for me to serve a little better and know a little more than before.”

Rhody also meets with two mentors regularly to ask them to challenge her thinking, help her see from a different vantage point, find the good in all situations, and help spot fundamental flaws, for instance if she’s being too critical. “This process keeps me grounded, humble, approachable and a bit more relatable because I’m not so absolute in my way,” she said.

As Rhody’s experience illustrates, coaching and mentoring can shape and define careers, and with subtly different approaches. The two forms of career guidance can definitely overlap; still, here’s a basic primer on coaching and mentoring and when to seek them.


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