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Community of Practice SANDI Training Center: 11. Helping the Student to Become a Graduate & Job Placement

To Coach, Mentor, or Both?

In Project SANDI terms a mentor focuses on helping the mentee navigate their career path and strategize to achieve their career goals. A mentor is someone who shares their knowledge, skills, and/or experience, to help another to develop and grow. The coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.


Now, looking at these two definitions, we would forgive you for still not being totally sure about the key differences between mentoring and coaching. One of the most distinct differences is that mentoring is directive, with coaching is non-directive. What does that mean in practice? Well, in mentoring meetings, it is likely to be the mentor doing more of the talking, whereas in coaching it is likely to be the coach posing questions and giving the person they are coaching the space to reflect and do most of the talking. Ultimately, both coaching and mentoring are about helping people to get where they want to go by leveraging the experience of the coach or mentor. They can be seen to evolve from directive (mentoring) to non-directive (coaching) in a chart often used to depict the differences.


As you can see, on the mentoring and directive side, it is about instructing and telling, whereas when we progress into the non-directive and more coaching-focused phase of learning, we see more reflection and raising awareness.

The Differences Between Mentoring and Coaching
Below are a few of the key differences between mentoring and coaching, compared. We’ll start with the key differences in mentoring:

  • As mentioned, mentoring is a lot more directive. It is about the mentor sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills, telling the mentee, and guiding them through the direction.
  • Finally, mentoring is mainly development-driven and looks to the mentee to decide what they wish to achieve and which goals they have for their mentoring relationships.

Now, the key differences in coaching are:

  • Coaching is often shorter-term and may be as short as a quick 10- or 15-minute conversation. That said, some coaching relationships can be longer-term too.
  • Unlike mentoring, coaching is non-directive which means that it is about posing the right questions, providing the space, trust, and confidence for the individual being coached to consider how they can achieve more, reach their objectives, and find capabilities within themselves.
  • Coaching is performance-driven and encourages the individual or individuals being coached to perform in their day-to-day roles. In Project SANDI case, completion of SANDI Nevada Career Explorer assessments will be vital.

The Key Benefits to Mentoring and Coaching
Both mentoring and coaching have a range of benefits, which, when conducted correctly can benefit both the individual receiving mentoring and coaching, along with the mentor or coach and the organization too. Here are some benefits of mentoring and coaching:

  • Both mentoring and coaching are extremely effective learning techniques.
  • Both mentoring and coaching can be formal and informal, with mentoring often seen more informally and coaching often seen more formally.
  • Both can increase participant engagement and retention when applied.
  • Both mentoring and coaching can increase the confidence and the interpersonal skills of a participant.




Bill Burnett is the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford. He got his BS and MS in Product Design at Stanford and has worked professionally on various projects, including an award-winning Apple PowerBooks.


In his speech, Bill talks about designing a life that helps figure out what you want to be when you grow up. As he mentioned, people tend to get stuck in life, lacking the right tools. Design Thinking (DT) is such a tool. But still, people have many beliefs that psychologists label “dysfunctional beliefs,” things they believe that are true that aren’t true, and it holds them back.

Dysfunctional beliefs that you must get rid of them!

  • There’s a need for passion in you.
  • You should know where you’re going by now.
  • You must become the best version of yourself: you must understand that the unattainable best is the enemy of all the available betters.

Bill Burnett shares 5 Tips from Design Thinking for Life Design:

1. Connecting the dots

People want their lives to be meaningful, which can add up to something. The exercise for this is to write 250-word essays on the following three questions and try to match them:

  1. Who are you (your thoughts, words, actions)?
  2. What do you believe? What’s the meaning of life? The big picture? Why are you here?
  3. What do you do in the world? Why do you work? (Not a job description) The point of working? 

2. Gravity problems

As Bill quotes ‘If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem, it’s a circumstance, e.g., gravity. Try to reframe issues to something workable. If that doesn’t work, accept them as circumstances.

3. Thought experiment

You only get one life. But it turns out it’s not what you don’t choose. It’s what you choose in life that makes you happy. Bill suggests coming up with three great 5 years from now versions of yourself that are;

  1. Good quality/quantity of follow-up ideas.
  2. Three rubrics:
    • The thing you are doing right now, just do it. And you’re going to do it for five years, and it’s going to come out great.”
    • What would you do if the job died tomorrow, e.g., your job gets replaced by AI? Any side hustle or talent to explore etc.?
    • Wildcard-Plan: If neither money nor reputation (nobody would laugh) was a restriction, what would you do/be? To get creative!
  3. Goal: recognize the great opportunities life has to offer, smartly implement insights of 3 rubrics to create the idea.

4. Prototyping your ideas

  • Ask interesting questions: “What would it be like if I tried this?” 
  • Expose the underlying assumptions: “Is this even the thing I want (now), or is that just something I remember I wanted when I was 20?”
  • Involve others with your ideas
  • Sneak up on the future

Because you don’t know that this thing is what you will do or want to do. You can “prototype” ideas by Prototyping conversations: the future is already here, the thing is it’s unevenly distributed, others are already living your future; get in touch with them and learn 

Prototyping experiences: test the experience (example: a 45-year-old business executive attending a university lecture to see if it feels right)

5. Making better choices

The question that arises here is how do you know when you know? It is only through the process of choosing well and making yourself happy:

  1. Gather & create options
    • Deliberately (active brainstorming etc.)
    • Serendipitous (be open for opportunities in your peripheral vision etc.
  2. Narrow down options to a working list
    • “When you have too many choices, you have no choice.”
    • Radically cross out all choices until five are left (overcome FOMO!)
  3. Choose / Pick one: Combine rational judgment (pro/contra comparisons etc.) with holistic gut feelings
  4. Let go & move on instead of agonizing (FOMO strikes again!): Consider decisions irreversible 
    • Get curious, talk to people, and try stuff!

You can watch the 25-minute video below currently with over 6.5 Million Views!




Using the Nevada Career Explorer to assist with Job Searching- New and updated feature!

To encourage participants to seek careers in Nevadas resilient industries, the Nevada Career Explorer will also include data on SANDI-funded Training career paths.

New features include:

  • Nevada Wage and Employment Trends
    • Salary Range
    • Average Wage
  • Projected Growth in Nevada


Why is Career Readiness Important?

In today’s working world, career readiness is essential. Candidates who are well-prepared for the workplace are more confident and equipped to succeed. Employers also strive to find skilled workers who have the training and skills needed to perform their jobs correctly and help the organization reach its goals. But unfortunately, many people in our local communities who want and need work face multiple barriers to employment. Providing career readiness training is one way to help people overcome these barriers after completing their Project SANDI-funded training. 


How can I support Career Readiness?

Career readiness can be provided throughout all phases of Project SANDI. Community practice members have the liberty of addressing each area of need as they see fit. Below is a list of common areas to provide support: 

Other Employment Areas

  • Resume Building
  • Cover Letter Writing
  • Interview Skills 
  • Job-seeking skills,
  • Understanding employer expectations for punctuality and performance,
  • Other "soft" skills are necessary for employment.

Specific Social/Interpersonal Skills

  • Communication 
  • Positive Attitude
  • teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Oral/writing
  • Active listening
  • Decision making
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Body Language
  • Professionalism

Independent Livings Skills

  • Good Hygiene
  • Time Management
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Technology Usage
  • Using Transportation
  • Money Management
  • Services & Supports
  • Community Participation
  • Workplace Attire