Babs had Batman's help because she actually *listened* to him when it was important.
I remember one issue where Steph, screwing up a hostage situation, ignored the lecture that followed to find herself another mentor. When Cass told her to stay out of a fight, Steph ignored her, went in and got her ass kicked, and then got angry when Cass knocked her ass out to remove her from the fight.
Her career was started as an immature act of rebellion. It continued because of an infatuation with Robin, and continued from there in an attenmpt to earn respect from other crime fighters, as opposed to saving lives and such.
Steph is by no means a bad person, but she's rarely fought for the right reasons and has never shown any exceptional ability. She's mediocre in an area that requires some type of edge for survival.