BACKGROUND : There is a longstanding debate on whether the practice of coaching support is
useful for entrepreneurs who lack the skills and assistance needed to make a success of their
AIM : To gain a better understanding of the benefits derived from coaching support, this study
explores the debate on whether coaching is useful as a support function for entrepreneurs.
SETTING : Entrepreneurs who participated in a support intervention programme to assist them
with the development or growth of their business.
METHODS : This study employed a qualitative research design and used 12 semi-structured,
face-to-face interviews that were conducted with entrepreneurs from the Pretoria region, who
received support intervention for business purposes between August and October 2015.
RESULTS : The study found that confusion still exists around the concepts of coaching and
mentoring. Furthermore, it was found that both mentoring and coaching are useful as a
support function for entrepreneurs, as evidenced through the benefits derived from the
intervention. These benefits mainly include the development of skills, particularly of
21st-century skills, new perspectives, enhanced communication, increased self-awareness
and learning, and were facilitated by learning.
CONCLUSION : Both mentoring and coaching can benefit potential entrepreneurs; however,
each form contributes different benefits. Coaching contributes to the self-development of
entrepreneurs, whilst mentoring assists in the development of managerial functions needed to
successfully start and grow a business. It is clear that these different forms of support
intervention aid in developing different skills, and therefore, entrepreneurs should articulate
their required needs before engaging support.