Coaching vs Training

Training and coaching sound like they could be two different words describing the same practice—imparting information that someone else—students, friends, acquaintances, employees, trainees—can learn and grow from.
But in fact, training and coaching each serve a distinct purpose and, while they share similar attributes, they approach the need from different angles. Knowing the differences between training and coaching, as well as when and how to deploy them, is key to affecting and improving personal and professional relationships, job performance, and overall satisfaction in life.

Let’s look at a description for each discipline:
Training (typically more group-oriented): Instructing, developing, and nurturing life and job skill sets. Training has more of an emphasis on the teacher/student relationship. The seasoned or knowledgeable professional introducing students to new skills, concepts, behaviors, etc.

Coaching (more small group or one-on-one oriented toward fine tuning skills): Guiding, motivating, encouraging, advising; opening the mind to alternate ideas that can improve behaviors. The emphasis in coaching is more that of a partnership. Two professionals working together for the betterment of the one being coached. Raising or increasing the life skill sets, abilities, and capabilities that are already resident in the individual, but that could be improved upon.


Much of the success of either practice depends on the individual mindset of each participant.

Students should display a willingness and openness to receive the content, but more importantly, have an expectation that by employing what they learn, they will improve their effectiveness not only as a professional, but as a person.

Instructors should display an unselfish commitment to provide meaningful content, consciously delivered. Having an enthusiasm for the topic and possibly even presenting themselves as a living illustration of their content.

The greater the commitment to these core ideals each participant brings to the relationship, the greater the return each will receive.

It is a reciprocal relationship. Students gain a greater understanding of their inherent worth and potential life skills. Teachers walk away with a greater appreciation of their value as teacher/leaders, and with the inner satisfaction that comes from lifting others.

In life, we should all be teacher/learners. Giving and receiving in a constant, continual adherence to personal and corporate improvement.

The tree of knowledge must be refreshed from time to time with the pruning of new ideas and questioning of long-held beliefs! (a tip of the hat to Thomas Jefferson intended)


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