There are three assistants that you can strategically bring into your life:
- mentor: is a person you aspire to be like. Mentor can be a more experienced person, who's life decisions you respect and want to imitate. You meet with mentor every 6 to 12 months. The thought exchange is unstructured, no pre-defined meeting goals. Mentor shares wisdom. Generally pro bono.
- adviser: is a person who has already solved a problem that you are currently facing. Questions and answers are specific. Interaction is timeboxed and targeted. It is common to ask opinions of multiple advisors. Paid service.
- coach: is a person who knows the methodology of the skill or knowledge that you want to acquire. A coach doesn't have to be a practitioner. They need to know how to guide you in the right direction at the right pace for you. Paid service.
- Unless the coach is famous, it can be hard to verify their credentials.
- One person can have many roles. In a professional environment, people manager often wears an adviser and a coach hat depending on the situation. As adviser, she provides the exact steps needed to solve an issue at hand. As a coach, she teaches to recognize the issue and relevant patterns and facilitates the growth of an individual.