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Mentoring vs Life Coaching: What Does the Entrepreneur Need?

When I tell people Distinctions for Life does elite one-on-one mentoring they often asked “Are you a life coach?”

Today, I’ll explain the difference between DFL’s mentoring program and a life coach.

I kind of stumbled into mentoring. You see I had an acquaintance that mentioned she was struggling with networking for her business. I asked if I could meet with her and talk about it. From that meeting, my elite one-on-one mentoring program was born.

In that first session I asked Katie what she was doing that was so hard. She told me the story of embarassing pain about going to Starbucks and trying to cold open people to start using her co-working space.

My first advice was “stop that.”

You see we often get an idea of how we should do something and then can’t see any other alternative. Katie was in that situation and she just needed someone to see the big picture and give her alternatives.

That’s part of mentoring.

So how am I different from a life coach? Matter of fact why don’t I just call myself a life coach?

There are a lot of similarities. Both mentors and life coaches meet with you regularaly – either in person or online. Both hold you accountable to doing the things you need to do. They both give advice.

So why aren’t I a life coach?

The term comes with a lot of baggage.

It has been co-opted by MLMs and various other organizations. A life coach is often actually there to sell you something. A product that supports your health, or other programs offered by the person they work under.

Frankly some of the other baggage it carries is a general shadiness. We’re not sure that person really knows what they are doing. That they really want to help you.

With the DFL mentoring program you are working with me. You can see the kind of knowledge I will share with you by looking at my website or this channel. All this content is written by me, not somebody I’m studying or working under.

Which brings us to difference number 2.

A mentor is their own boss.

I’m not translating someone else’s work. I’m not doing only what someone else says.

Yes, I like everyone else, am standing on the shoulders of giants. Of those personal development pioneers that came before. But I’m not just teaching you the stuff of one person or organization.

A lot of coaches work under someone else. A well know guru, or a company that provides the service.

In DFL mentoring, you work with me.

Which brings us to point number 3.

Life coaching is often very structured.

It is a program you are being run through. You will work on specific things in a specific order.

Mentoring is all about you. I want to know what you want to work on. What problems are holding you back from getting what you really want in life this week? Let’s figure out new and better ways to accomplish that goal.

For Katie, it was first about networking. Then about marketing and onboarding at her co-working space.

My protege Topher started out wanting accountability to get his side hustle to grow into a business, but we also talked about how to get a promotion at work during one of our sessions. We were able to work through a process that ultimately got him a new position doing more of the stuff he liked, and less of the stuff he didn’t. And it came with raise.

As you can see there are some differences, but the last thing is that mentoring just feels different. It’s the difference between a personal trainer and a football coach. You will feel like it is all about you. You are the hero of your story, not me. I’m just Obi-won to your Luke Skywalker.

Yes, there is that level of geekiness in the Distinctions for Life elite one-on-one mentoring program.

I know at this point you are chomping at the bit to become a protege.

Yeah, that’s what I call the people I work with because I think it shows the respect I hold them in. It has panache and cachet.

How’s that for fancy vocabulary?

The process of getting started is basic. Go to and fill out the very simple application. It’s just one question and some contact info.

I’ll personally read your application. If I think I can help you, we’ll get together for a 15 minute meeting to figure out if we want to work together. After that you’ll make your first payment and we’ll schedule the first of many regular meetings.

The DFL mentoring program isn’t free. I can’t scale it very much so I only take a few proteges at a time. But I want to take away your risk. If at anytime you don’t think the program is working for you, we can stop.

There’s no long term commitment. If you quit in the first few months, I’ll give you all of your monthly payment back for you last month. I don’t want to take your money if you aren’t getting what you really want in life from the program.

And finally, I’d like to leave you with this.

Question of the day:

What do you think is the difference between a mentor and a life coach?

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