As an ACEVO member, you can gain access to a network of great mentors. Mentoring is a free service where other ACEVO members generously offer their time as peer mentors; coaching is a paid for service, with significant discounts offered by our brilliant coaching partners.

What's the difference between mentoring and coaching?

Many people think of mentoring and coaching as the same thing but a mentoring partnership is quite different to a coaching arrangement. Mentoring is relationship orientated, aiming to provide a safe environment for you to share whatever issues may be affecting you professionally or personally. Coaching is task orientated, intended to improve competency in skills or knowledge. Mentoring is also development driven whilst coaching is performance driven – mentoring aims to develop you for your current job and also for the future whilst coaching enhances your performance on the job. Generally speaking, mentoring is a more informal process than coaching but is equally valuable.

To help you decide whether mentoring or coaching would best suit your needs, have a look at the following table that summarises the differences:



Longer term

Shorter term

Development driven

Performance driven

Benefits both parties

Benefits the recipient


Paid for


Peer Mentoring

The ACEVO Mentoring Service matches ACEVO members looking for a mentor with other members who have volunteered their time to the service. Peer mentoring is based around sharing knowledge and experience and is a fantastic way of improving your professional development, for both mentees and mentors. The free service is intended to provide confidential space for reflection and discussion. Mentees gain a supportive mentor to bounce ideas off and tackle issues with; mentors gain the chance to develop leadership skills and the sense of satisfaction from having helped another sector leader.

Mentoring partnerships generally last around a year, with mentors and mentees meeting every 4-6 weeks to chat in person or over the phone. Once matched, the mentoring process is entirely dependant on the needs of both the mentor and mentee and can be flexibly arranged to suit individuals. If you are a Senior Leader, please indicate on the application form whether you are looking for a Senior Leader peer mentor or a CEO mentor.

"I would just like to confirm how helpful I have found the mentoring service you offer. You put me in touch with Peter - an experienced CEO - and he has been and continues to be an absolute gem! I feel I have got someone on 'my side' who I can openly and honestly bounce things off, whose brains I can pick and who can give me a fresh perspective on things whilst challenging (gently) my ideas and thoughts."

Helen Garfield, CEO Primrose Hospice and ACEVO mentee

For  more information on mentoring please email the membership team. Please note, we are currently reviewing our service and it may take a while before we can match you. 

 If you are particularly interested in accessing a mentor from the private sector, please email Jenny directly.


“I decided to become an ACEVO Mentor as I have a lot of experience in large and small organisations within the sector and was interested in offering this outside a line management arrangement for those who are new to the CEO role or sector. The experience has been really valuable as it requires a different approach from managing staff – I’m not there to advise or recommend but to ask informed questions which may help the person being mentored to think about situations differently and develop their own approaches or solutions.”

Leo Sowerby, CEO Affinity Trust and ACEVO mentor

Click here to register as a mentor

 Find out about our coaching for excellence programme

Contact us

For more information on mentoring or coaching, please contact the Membership team or ACEVO’s Director of Leadership, Jenny Berry. Alternatively, call the ACEVO office on 020 7014 4600.