Difference Between Training and Coaching

Training and coaching are two terms that are used interchangeably, but they’re not synonyms. The two words hold different meanings and serve different purposes.

Training and coaching are two terms that are used interchangeably, but they’re not synonyms. In a broader sense, both training and coaching involve learning and teaching. However, if you dig in deeper, the two words hold different meanings and serve different purposes.

While training is the process of transferring fresh knowledge, information, or skills to a person; coaching is the process of enhancing existing knowledge and skills. In this article, we try to bring out the basic differences between training and coaching.

Transferring Knowledge VS Enhancing Knowledge

Training is mainly the process of introducing a person to a skill or concept that he’s not already aware of. For instance, a new employee who doesn’t know how to use a software will be trained on it; from scratch.

Coaching, on the other hand is helping a person develop and improve an existing skill.

Skill VS Expertise

This is one of the most basic differences between training and coaching. A sports teacher teaches school kids how to play cricket. He teaches the basic rules of the game, and the exact skills to play the game. That’s training.

However, someone who already knows how to play cricket, but wants to get better at it, goes to a personal coach. Coaching is when an expert fine tunes a student’s game.

Standard Process VS Tailored Approach

Training is usually imparted to a group of students willing to learn a certain concept or skill. To ensure that the skill is taught equally to all students, and within a stipulated time, a standard learning process, or curriculum is designed.

On the contrary, coaching is usually a personalized structure, where the coach and the student have a one-to-one interaction. In such a scenario, no standard curriculum or program is planned. The coach follows a tailored approach to improve the student’s skill sets, over an extended period.

Measurable VS Intangible

Typically, when a training is conducted, there are ways to measure the progress of a student. It could be through an assessment, a test, or an assignment.

However, coaching is intangible. There are no defined ways to measure it, but it can be understood by the coach’s expert feedback whether a person is improving and his skills are developing.

Short-Term VS Long-Term Process

Training is usually carried out for a specified period. It could be a few days, or a few months. For example, newly recruited employees in an organization are given formal training for a couple of months making them familiar with the company’s policies, and work processes.

In contrast, coaching is a long-term process.  It goes on for a longer time, till a person becomes an expert at his work. In coaching, an existing employee is constantly guided by a senior expert on how to work efficiently and grow in his career.

There’s a fine line that differentiates the two terms. If training is about applying the required skills, coaching is about applying the same skills better. Though training and coaching are two distinct concepts, they go hand in hand to develop one’s potential.

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About the Author: Staff

This article is written by a staff writer at Trainer Hangout.


  1. Haaa thank you for putting it out so clear. I did not use them interchangeably but had not clear out idea on the differences.

  2. Thanks for discussing this subject. Some people tend to mix up the meaning of these words.

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