If you have ever applied for a job as a coach one of the standard, and in my opinion pointless, the question is what’s the difference between coaching and training.  Now I’ve yet to meet a coach who doesn’t firstly have a very clearly defined definition and second thinks the division is artificial and irrelevant.  We all know that coaching often has elements of training and vice versa.  The divide seems to exist to enable practitioners to be classified and pigeonholed or worse simply to direct funding.  Likewise, I’ve been asked to explain the difference between coaching and mentoring again a semantic point as again there is a clear overlap.

I think perhaps this confusion could stem from the fact that one way of defining these activities is to map them to hierarchies within the business.

Mentoring  =  Senior Manager  =  Strategic

Coaching   =  Middle Managers  =  Operational

Training   =  Employees  =  Functional

Now while this does hold limited appeal its worth noting that in an SME, individuals often also occupy more than one role and therefore; a level of the hierarchy.  So my point is that often definitions and constructs are good for intellectual understanding but melt in the harsh light of the REAL world.

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