Training vs. Coaching

A lesson learned the hard way.

A few years back, I was hired to coach a group of people who were about to present to their most prominent group of investors.

After arriving and beginning to “Coach,” everyone I noticed there was a challenge.

First and foremost, these people were not public speakers and were not needing coaching.

It was evident that they never received any formal training in public speaking.

It was up to me to shift gears and train them in public speaking one day and coach them on their presentation the next day.

Coaching and training are often talked about interchangeably, and that leads to confusion.

There is a big difference between coaching and training.

It’s not so much that the managers didn’t know the difference between coaching and training; they didn’t realize their people’s presenting level.

Training is essentially about teaching, while coaching is about enhancing the skills that have already been learned.

Here are my thoughts on training compared to coaching.


  • Transferring knowledge
  • Often used in a group setting
  • Frequently off-site¬†
  • Often used for new hires
  • Usually structured
  • Formal
  • Depends on telling
  • Learning focused
  • Enhancing knowledge or skills


  • Usually one-on-one
  • Usually on-the-job
  • More often used with experienced employees
  • Usually unstructured
  • Informal, conversational
  • Depends on asking
  • Development focused

Whether you are looking to learn presentation skills or enhance any presentation, we can help.

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