Coaching or Mentoring – which is the right option for you?

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'I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential'

When Michael Clerck decided to leave his career in international engineering project management, he started volunteering with The Prince’s Trust. Through providing workshops to share his experience and skills in marketing, cash flow, pricing and selling, and business planning, he discovered a love of mentoring. He became aware that Scotland has one of the lowest survival rates for start-up businesses, with two-thirds failing within 36 months. He decided the next stage in his career would be to help business owners and their teams be the best they can be and achieve their business goals.

Understanding Coaching versus Mentoring

Michael provides both coaching and mentoring services. “The first step to success in working with a growth specialist, is to understand whether you need a business coach or a mentor,” says Michael.


Mentoring is relationship driven and usually is a long-term arrangement.

A mentor is an experienced, successful person who has the knowledge to provide advice and support to assist the mentee with decision-making.  The mentor may not have industry knowledge, or experience but have the life/business experience needed to be considered a trusted expert and ally. Mentoring has less specific goals than coaching, hence the long-term relationship. The support and learning are often more holistic taking account of personal development, as well as business development.

For a business owner, a mentor may help grow and develop as a person to take your business forward.

A mentor will use past experiences to help with considering alternative courses of action and solve problems, leading to new insights and better business performance. A mentor will not provide answers nor tell you what to do: only you can decide what actions to implement as it is your business and you will have to live with the consequences. They act as a guide, and a sounding board and can share their own experiences to advise.



Coaching is task-driven and normally has a formal structure undertaken over a short, defined period.

Coaching is normally linked to specific goals, which enables it to be a time-restricted relationship, lasting three to 18 months. A coach will normally be experienced in the specific sector, or skill set that is needing to be developed whether that is marketing, sales, finance, change, HR and so on.

A coach will help you (and where appropriate your team) to improve by learning and effectively applying the skills that will enable you to successfully develop and grow your business.   A coach will help you realise personal success and achieve your aims. Coaches commonly address attitudes, behaviours and knowledge as well as skills.


Coaching often includes formal training and skills development, goal setting and accountability processes.


Coaching Approach

Michael’s coaching approach looks at three steps – Focus-Strategy-Accountability. Learning what his client wants to achieve, and what the specific challenges are, allows Michael to provide a bespoke service.

“It may be setting up robust processes and procedures as part of finance or risk management. It may be giving the business owner the necessary skills to be resilient and robust themselves,” explains Michael, “Understanding what is holding them, and their business back, allows specific, measurable targets to be defined, and solutions to clear those challenges put into place.”

Holding regular meetings to create accountability and follow up to make sure agreed actions are being progressed, Michael creates a genuine partnership with his clients and is passionate about delivering positive results.

Michael’s extensive experience in project management, engineering and business redesign has given him a full range of time-tested tools and approaches which he shares with his clients.  Instilling skills and processes within the business makes a real difference.


Mentoring Approach


Michael’s extensive experience in across a range of sectors gives him the perfect attributes of a mentor.  A mentor must be confident, competent, compassionate and inspiring, demonstrating the skills and behaviour that are desired.  Michael’s open and honest communication approach, and experience working with a wide range of disciplines and ages, allow him to tick all the boxes!


As to his approach to mentoring, that will depend on the client.  Michael listens and provides a bespoke mentoring approach to suit the client’s aspirations and business.



Deciding whether you need a coach or a mentor


If you are still unsure then have a chat with Michael about what you are looking to achieve and what challenges you are facing. Michael, as both an experienced Mentor and Coach, can help decide what the best route is for you to achieve your business goals and personal aspirations.


Michael brings a wealth of experience and proven processes that will ensure the delivery of your business growth aspirations and help you move forward.

Call him for a chat.

Michael Clerck

BGCN Coach – Michael Clerck

Expertise: SME coach and mentor specialising in creating business resilience by instilling essential business skills, processes and procedures.  I support business owners and their teams to exploit their full potential and ensure they achieve their business aspirations. With qualifications in engineering, project management, and business studies, with extensive experience across a range of sectors and organisations.

 Experience:  Passionate about supporting start-up businesses and established enterprises to generate growth through establishing processes and accountability to ensure timely, positive progress. Using my extensive experience across several sectors, including manufacturing to deliver bespoke coaching, training and mentoring to business owners. Volunteer business mentor with the Prince’s Trust and Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Out of hours: A fair-weather gardener who loves a potter. Chair of a Charitable Trust that supports local community organisations with educational and welfare projects.