What's the difference? There was a discussion about this on WeekendClub slack that sparked the following thoughts. Here's my understanding as of now:
A mentor is someone who has traveled the path you're trying to go down. They are some miles ahead on the journey so they can share their knowledge, skills and experience. If you have a programming mentor, they teach and explain concepts, you can ask tactical questions about how to code something in a given language/framework. Similarly if you get a startup mentor, it'd be someone who has built and scaled a successful company before (even in your industry or with your business model (e.g. B2B)).
Coaches, on the other hand, help by listening with empathy, by asking you questions and guiding you to arrive at your own answers/solutions. This is applicable in helping your work through your own psychology, addressing limiting beliefs, etc. Coaches do not insert their opinions or suggestions into the conversation. They withhold judgement. Coaches need not have the skills you're trying to learn or need not have already done the thing you're trying to do.
I tried a coaching session few weeks ago, having never considered it before. It was interesting. I couldn't tell what the other person thought at all. She nodded and smiled and said mm..hm but had me do most of the talking. I went into this with a completely open mind. So I'll say it was interesting and I can see how this type of conversation can be useful.
There is another concept I like as far as people helping people make progress with their goals.
Thinking buddy - another person, a peer, who just listens to you think out loud. And you do the same for them. They may offer suggestions if it seems relevant to them. So unlike professional coaches who will refrain from offering their opinions/solutions, this arrangement has no rules. Do whatever is helpful to both people involved. This could also be called an accountability buddy, where you both meet and tell each other what you did and what you're planning to do. I think a mastermind is like this, but with 3 or 4 people not just 2. This can be about tactical advice, or about mindset stuff, or it can be general support.
Sometimes it helps to have someone else tell you that what you're thinking makes sense to them as well. I experienced this twice in the last week and it was helpful to hear both times.
Reminds of this line in the Billy Joel song, Vienna,
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right
People need people. Each of the above can be helpful in different contexts and if you find the right person/arrangement. And sometimes, you just gotta be your own coach/buddy and keep on truckin
In addition to teaching/learning, one of my ATFM* goals is connecting. Enabling connections and collaboration among people, with the specific goal of learning from each other. Logistically I'm imagining doing this as some sort of a membership community for people who are passionate about teaching as well as learning. Exchanging knowledge. It could be anything from business skills to gardening to woodworking. People who know things deeply who want to share what they know with others. People who are curious and eager to learn, to become an apprentice. This'd be all for fun and for people to connect (without exchanging money per se for their time).
One specific example that solidified this idea in my mind - Miss R from R&C's school. One day during zoom school show-n-tell, she showed an avocado plant that she grew from avocado pits. I found this fascinating so I asked more questions and she went on to tell us in detail exactly how she does it, including transferring the plant to her backyard where it'll turn into a giant tree. She clearly seemed passionate about gardening. (I tried what she was describing. I couldn't get it to sprout. Would have loved to have a follow-up conversation about this and have her teach me more)
I have never connected with her outside of this. I know her husband passed away from cancer. She could be in this community and share her gardening skills many other eager learners like me (and maybe feel less alone). That was one thought.
What if I just start doing the things I care about (that I intended to do ATFM) now. Like now. I know I have romanticized some of these ideas in my head, so reality will be different. But it will be real.
ATFM = after the four million. Plans for how I envision spending my time after financial independence. Although if I'm setting aside this four million thing, maybe I can try incorporating these activities now. Just maybe. Why wait. What if I pretend I have that in the bank. Start spending my time the way I'd envisioned now. Such a cliche thing, deferring your "dreams", but I guess that's what I have been doing. And the money will follow? as I will need to make money somehow eventually. Have to have faith. Commitment and faith.