Training, Coaching, Mentoring-Similarities and Differences

Many consultants offer their services and might not be sure how to refer to what they offer: training, coaching, mentoring? There are similarities in these services, ways in which they overlap, and yet there are clear differences in approach and definition between the three.

Training, coaching, mentoring
Training, coaching, mentoring

Here Are the Similarities in Training, Coaching, Mentoring

Those of us involved in any of these practices do it in service to others. As a coach, I want to impart my experiences, expertise, and understanding of certain aspects of life to my clients. My intention in serving my clients is to help them access information that will support them in moving forward in their lives. Trainers and mentoring experts are driven by the same objectives. All of us in these practices feel that our greater purpose in life is help others reach their fullest potential.

Check out the Differences in Training, Coaching, Mentoring

Here’s how trainers, coaches, mentors approach their practices differently:

Training: A trainer imparts knowledge and skills to her clients through lecture, reading, writing, and hands-on practice. She is usually an expert in her field and teaches her clients. Training can be done in a group or individually. There may be an assessment at the end of the training to evaluate whether the participant or client has gained a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

Mentoring: A mentor is an individual that shares knowledge, skills and information with his client. The way it’s different from training is that it typically involves a more personal relationship with the mentee, and is not always limited to one subject area. The mentor provides insight through connection, guidance, consultation, problem solving, positive reinforcement, and goal achievement. A mentoring relationship may involve assessment or evaluation during the relationship to measure the mentee’s success toward goal achievement.

Coaching: A coach partners with her clients in processes that inspire them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Unlike training, the coach may not an expert in the client’s particular field. In fact, coaching honors the client as the expert in her own life. Although a coach’s experience in a certain field lends credibility to her practice and attracts certain clients, the coach’s job is not to teach her clients. A coach is not like a mentor in that mentoring involves imparting knowledge and guidance, usually with attachment to the outcome.

The three practices of training, coaching, mentoring are often confused with one another. And the lines between the three can be challenging to maintain. As a coach, you are responsible to uphold the ICF philosophy in your practice by encouraging client self discovery; clarifying and aligning what your client wants to achieve; eliciting client-generated solutions and strategies; and holding the client responsible and accountable.

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Marti Hess
Life Coach
Writing team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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  1. marquita herald says

    Very interesting, though I rarely see the term “trainer” used except within a company … I believe there is often confusion over the difference between a consultant and a coach. I guess it just depends on the industry. Thanks!

  2. says

    Hi Marti,
    Thanks for clearing this up for me. I consider myself a coach but from what I read I am more of a mentor. It involves more of a personal relationship using intuition as well as sound and practical tools.

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