Career coach? Mentor? Do not know who to listen to

Diapositiva1It is often said that every person should have a mentor , a coach or someone who is able to give advices. As mentioned in other posts, it is always important to have an external judge to avoid biased self assessment; in other words, we are too emotionally involved to take objective decisions. Deciding who should and could be our coach or mentor, however, it is a complicated because it is not easy to figure out who can really help us. Some say it should be someone experienced in the work field that we are dealing with. This certainly could help us, but in the end we should reflect on whether we want exactly the same type of career of our “example”. Essentially would be definitely an enrichment and advice for technical component of the work, but surely this would not be enough. It is a sort of partial mentorship. There are others who go to look at closer people, as friends and family members. Latter ones surely can better judge us for personality point of view; anyway, absolutely for the opposite reason of job expert, they won’t be able to give advices for job part. Moreover, we know that friends and family members, go to somehow maintain very strongly defense mechanisms and protection, because they do not want ruin relationship with us.  Alternatively, your boss can be a solution; in this case also, there is something to highlight. Bosses’ main objective is maximizing effectiveness and achieving great level of performance; so they might give advices in this sense to achieve short term goals; then not really useful for your long term goals and career achievement.  As said at the beginning, it is not simple decision, but you could select which judge can help you in a specific phase. Obviously it will be helpful, but you might be confused and still based your judgements on other advices. But then you’d still choose. A manager of another department, I think is the best solution.. or clearly a professional coach.


  1. federico · December 5, 2014

    Hi Luca,
    just to make it clear:
    a career coach, if she/he is an ICF certified coach, cannot give you any help but works with you to help you achieve your goals (whatever they are) through your own inner strengths and potential. the only things that an ICF coach will tell you are questions, hence more than listening to them, it is you listening to the coach and reply to those questions. those replies are your future actions, your own plan that the coach simply pulled out of you, but that you weren’t able to find just by yourself.
    A mentor is supposed to give you tips on own to develop you career and grow on a business perspective, a tutor does a similar task but on a more professional perspective.
    If you find someone who call herself/himself a coach and then, wearing that hat, gives you advice, that is the kind of coach that ICF (and other similar international bodies of accreditation) constantly fights, because they are actually out of the ICF Code of Ethics that people like me are requested (and happy) to abide by.

    Ciao carissimo 🙂


    • Luca · December 21, 2014

      Hi Federico,

      thank you very much for reading article and sharing your thoughts that as always are really precious.

      your comment’ d so helpful for who read the blog.



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