This is something that I encounter fairly frequently, as the people within my company, ROCeteer, perform as Coaches, Advisors, Mentors, Facilitators, Trainers or Consultants, depending on the need of the person or organization.
Here is how I frame the difference between the ones you have asked:
A mentor is someone who has been where you are, and is giving you the benefit of their personal experience to help you on the path to your next level.
An advisor is someone who has specific subject matter expertise or industry experience to give advice or credibility on an as-needed basis (and is generally compensated for this advice).
A consultant is a person who has been contracted for a fee to assist a company as an outside entity. They will perform the duties of an employee (often in a highly skilled position), with the benefit of being a neutral party.
As in my case and that of others answering here, one person can perform any of these roles as the situation requires.
Additionally, some may argue that there is a semantic difference between advice you are able to give because you have lived through an experience, and advice you can give because you are experienced in business. For me, I personally feel that theory falls into the realm of advisors, and experience into the realm of mentors.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-a-startup-mentor-advisor-and-consultant
Originally Posted On: 2015-04-12