What’s the difference?

What is the difference between coaching and training? We get asked this a lot and wondered how many more people and companies out there want, need or care to know. It also made me wonder is it the reason for it popping up in conversation more as coaching, particularly in organisations it’s on the rise? We’ve penned a few thoughts around it. Let’s talk.

The Confusion

Interpretation and perception belong to the beholder as it were, so it depends on who you ask about training and coaching. Some assume coaching’s about teaching people as the coach comes with some celestial power. Not so. To clarify, if a co-worker is supporting a colleague to gain the knowledge you possess on how to perform a task or use a system, is it coaching or training? Some say the former when in reality it’s the latter. Here’s why.

What is Coaching?

Coaching Example

Coaching presents an opportunity to work in partnership to explore and discover your specific needs, areas of support, topics and subjects that require focus. An in-depth learning process with systematic steps and dialogue to focus on winning the internal game to facilitate the winning of the external game. It’s about conversations based on inquiry and future intent, in other words, clarifying.

It’s a relationship between a coach and client. One of equal proportions and not where the coach is an expert in client’s company, career, life or situation and is more an expert in managing a structured conversation to create self-awareness in the clients’ mind through exploration.

The International Coaching Federation, ICF, defines coaching as ‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential’. They should know, so we’ll go with that. 

What is Training?

Training Example

Training is about transferring knowledge to increase learning in new areas. However, it relies on learners remembering the detail so it can be applied to improve performance and productivity. Training is a fantastic and necessary tool and plays a massive part in the learning and development lifecycle.

Here’s a training example, you could have basic level baking skills, however no idea how to decorate with buttercream, or how to work with fondant or pipe cupcakes. It’s fair to assume that most, if not all, can be trained in these areas.

What is the difference?

Training provides the knowledge and coaching bolsters learning by relating what is known, to what it means to the individuals in their environment. To unlock any Self-Limiting Beliefs (SLB’s) attached to the learning, allowing them to move forward positively, action learning to increase effectiveness and productivity in the workplace or anywhere else. They’re the bookends of learning and development. They coexist in an interconnected, interdependent world — one balances out the other, cause and effect, equilibrium.

What we found out?

Research shows an average of 50 percent of the information received in a presentation is forgotten within one hour. After 24 hours, on average, 70 percent is gone, and within a week, a staggering 90 percent is lost.

This sums it up:

Coaching Training
Enhancing knowledge or skills Transferring knowledge
One to one or group Often used in group setting
On the job Frequently off-site or at a special facility
For all levels of employees Commonly used for new hires
Goal and objective orientated Usually structured
Based around dialogue Formal
Depends on asking Depends on telling
Development focus Learning focused