Mentors and Advisors – what’s the difference, we hear you ask?

How is advisory differnt to mentoring?


Like a light bulb, mentors are often illuminators. Mentors help people get through their blocks to success. For example, a person might be resisting a certain pathway and not sure why or feel that their personal journey success is delayed. Mentors are listeners and ask questions to help a mentee talk through their challenges. Mentors are skilled people-people. They have sometimes been in the same situation as the mentee is and understand them as a person. They do feed ideas to the mentee, but ultimately, they don’t hold a mentee accountable to putting ideas into actions. Mentors can help career progression or assist to hurdle self-imposed challenges such as procrastination or other habits. Mentoring is often a free service and relies on the generosity of the mentor for the use of their time.

To get the best from a mentoring session, take lots of notes and deliver feedback to the mentor at some time in the future as to your personal progress. Don’t forget to thank them well for their time.

Like keys that unlock doors, or a map to a labyrinth, advisors are highly skilled in helping leaders solve their business or company problems and challenges. They are independent and qualified and help uncover business pathways or frameworks that get to a business to the next stage. Their networks are often large and they often introduce leaders to each other, firmly aligned with the strategic pathway the business leader has chosen. Advisors understand strategy and will sometimes identify where a strategy is working well and where it has gaps. Their advice helps fill those gaps in the shortest possible time. Advisors also provide businesses with effective templates to save time and money and they will hold a leader accountable for getting things done to move forward, fast.

Advisors don’t do the work for the business (that is consulting), but Advisory can lead to consulting if there is a strong fit. Sometimes leaders use advisory to determine if a consultant (or a service provider) is the right fit.

Advisors are often paid for their service and contractually engaged. They have strong governance processes to make sure you and your brand are protected. To get the best out of advisory sessions, go into the session and be able to articulate your current understanding of the problem or challenge. Be prepared to exit the session with tasks to complete before the next session.

If you need help in your business, consider Eastern Innovation’s Global Advisory Program.

Alternatively, if you need guidance as to whether you need mentoring, coaching or advising…our Innovation Champion and EI CEO, Danielle Storey and Innovation Coordinator have a limited number of 30 minute mentoring sessions available. Request a session with Danielle or Allira here.

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