Training, Coaching and Mentoring

Training, Coaching and Mentoring

What is the difference between Education & Training, Coaching & Mentoring? - This is one question that always bogged me over these years. Prior to the differences, one similarity I can identify is that all these three are the ways to facilitate people to do an activity in a different & effective manner by experts.

Training: It is an organized procedure of teaching a person or even an animal a type of behaviour or a particular skill.

Whenever we say training, classroom training is the type of that pops up in our mind though it is not the only type available. There are other varieties too – on-the-job training, through audio-visual methods, seminars, webinars etc. The training tenure is very short as compared to coaching or mentoring. Training is always formal and should have clearly defined learning objectives.

Training should include various types of interactive methods apart from lectures such as discussions, simulations, exercises, case-studies, brainstorm etc as to make the training delivery more effective. Transfer of knowledge takes place in such trainings, hence it is expected that the trainees gain as much knowledge as possible from the trainer who delivers. The focus on the trainer being an expert in that subject is pivotal.

Some say that Education is all about Know-how and Training is all about Do-how. I beg to differ. Training is not a separate issue from Education. Without Education, there is no training. I do agree that for certain subjects, one does not need training – say History. There again, if you get deeper – training is required in the Archeological section of History. How to interpret and how to decode the age-old scripts needs training. So, Education & Training goes together. In Coaching, Know-Why is taking place, hence the duration is more here.

Training is about the trainer getting his/ her trainees to do something, probably in the same way he/ she did. Coaching is about helping the students to work out for themselves on what a coach wanted to do and how to do. Education lies somewhere in the middle, explaining how others have seen/ done it (creating a paradigm) and also preparing the students to work for themselves on how they see/do it.

The most prominent methodologies of training are

  • Pedagogy
  • Andragogy
  • Heutagogy

Today, pedagogy refers to the theories and methods used in teaching. However, in the past, pedagogy referred specifically to the methods used to educate children. Andragogy was coined to focus on the practices used to teach adults.

It is important to trainers to use the right method of training because in Corporate arena, we are predominately working with adults. It’s important in training to lead and direct a training, but let the group come up with their solutions and their own and keeping the training relevant to the problem we are trying to solve.

In general, most of the training follow the way of putting up a PowerPoint slide show, pass out some material and then start a lecture — pedagogical learning to the hilt. We need to bear in mind that in today’s world the attention span is hardly 20 minutes and as adults one hates the ambience of a classroom.

Rather than this type of approach, lets get the participants into groups, present the current problem for that day and see what solutions or ideas they can come up with? This might be a little more time consuming but it’s so much more effective.

The principle difference in Pedagogy V Andragogy is that in Pedagogical style the teacher or instructor assumes full responsibility for what is taught and how it’s learned, and the teacher/instructor evaluates learning. In the Andragogical style:  the learner is self-directed,  the learner is responsible for his/her own learning and self-evaluation is characteristic of this approach. In the Andragogy style, the learner is the beneficiary, making the learning process much more fun, exciting and challenging. This in turn helps the training stick — and isn’t this why we train in the first place? 


Coach is the one who brings out the best in you every time you perform. Even the world-champions need a coach. Coach will not teach you the basics but will feed you in a way that your potential is utilized fully. Generally, there is a perception that Coach does not provide answers but encourage his students to find one. I beg to differ. I don’t think that an athletic coach simply asks the athlete questions and expect them to bring solutions on their own to problems. An athletic coach point out problems, makes definite suggestions, and sometimes even intervenes physically to help the athlete do the right thing. So the main difference between mentoring and coaching is in terms of formality.

Unlike mentoring, the relationship between a coach and the student is highly formal. A coach remains a coach throughout the relationship tenure and they can never be peers. This is because, the person being coached has a specific goal to achieve and the coach has to ensure that he achieves that goal. It can be long term or short term, but it is specific. The extension of the tenure of this relationship depends. It can be re-evaluated from time and again. Generally it is re-evaluated once the goal is achieved.

Here are some of the ways that coaching can happen (actually, mentors do these things too):

Rational Coach – asks lots of probing (open-leading) questions – essential for KATA

On-the-job Coach – demonstrates students on ways to solve a problem, however, leaves it to the student to follow or try something different

Observing Coach – observes and at times intervenes to help on choosing a specific route to solution

Guiding Coach – keep reminding the student on behaving within the specified boundaries so that he does not go off-track


Mentor may not be different from a Coach. He might be doing most of the things a Coach is doing. However, in Mentoring, one cannot find a formal binding on either side. A mentor-mentee relationship generally develops from a professional association in a gradual manner. It intensifies when the mentor finds he has some valuable insight to share and when the mentee discovers the desire to learn. The mentor is supposed to make the mentee thirsty and not to provide him a glass of water. A real mentor will never give solutions on a platter to the mentee but keep on asking leading questions in a way that mentee finds the answers by himself. The mentor also will ensure that the mentee never gets lost from his path towards the goal. These two will maintain a cordial relationship and as situation changes, the relationship might slowly de-intensify and they will remain peers.

If you wish to read & learn more from our blog, click here to follow our blog by subscribing the same


Recent Posts

Daily Work Management and its Importance!
Economic Revival – Are we Ready?
Extracting Cash from Working Capital through Lean Distribution

arrow up