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Training vs. Coaching: Which One Do You REALLY Need?

Aug 04, 2021

Do you have a talent or skills problem you need to solve in your company?

Surely a brand new training program is the solution, right?

Eric Roman, joyFULL People visionary, has an alternative.

While training can be a useful tool, coaching goes one step further. He shares his thoughts on the differences between training and coaching and which one you’ll benefit most from focusing on.

Press play to watch the video or keep reading to hear Eric’s words of wisdom.


Just a few years ago, training was all the rage. Everyone wanted new training courses to fill skills gaps, hit targets, and boost productivity.

But there’s a key problem with relying entirely on training.

Training keeps you, your colleagues, and employees in a perpetual student mode. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a student. However, you can keep going to school and learning over and over again, but eventually, the world needs you to use that knowledge and those skills.

Why do people use training to fall back on?

It’s easy for us to say, “we need more training.” What’s hard to say is, “I’m not very good at that yet.”

In some ways, it’s like a little abdication of responsibility. “If only I’d had more training, I would have fulfilled those expectations.”

The good news is that people seem to be asking more and more for coaching instead. But what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between training and coaching?

Surely they’re just the same thing? In fact, they’re totally different!

Let’s look at an example from the athletic world.

In training, LeBron James will practice a specific skill or shot or move over and over again. By practicing, we create repetition and develop muscle memory. Skills that don’t come naturally to us start to become natural.

Coaching, on the other hand, is about refinement of the skill. It’s about helping LeBron recognize what’s happening on the court and how he can do a better job.

It’s all about guidance, motivation, and support. Coaches help to remove some of the barriers that may come up or even come up with new techniques to ingrain those skills.

Coaches can do all these things to help you, but they can’t do the shooting for you. That’s your job. That’s LeBron’s job.

In training, your job is to put in the time, energy, and effort to build skills. Coaches help us access the tools we need to succeed.

Coaches also go beyond the court and take an active interest in other things in our lives. They may look at our professional development trajectory or even personal development. If they sense you’ve been off a bit lately, they can help support you with whatever’s going on.

Can a training program do the same? Probably not.

How do we balance autonomy with existing training systems?

This is a tough one because it all depends on the role, the business itself, the business model, company vision, the way it operates. It also depends on the specific tasks that you might be responsible for.

Here’s an example. With some tasks and roles, it doesn’t matter what path you took to get the result. That offers a lot of autonomy. If the end result is that you bake a pie, it may not matter how you do it as long as you bake a pie.

However, if you look at a business model like McDonald’s, this is all based on absolute consistency. They want consistency. They want efficiency. So, in this example, a specific process is needed, leaving little room for autonomy.

When it comes to your business and the best way to deliver coaching and/or training, it all depends on how the business works.

Getting clear and upfront about which side your business comes down on means it’s much easier to acquire talent that fits. One person may be great at going with the flow, but if your business needs consistency like McDonald’s, you need efficient, quick, and consistent talent instead.

Knowing that can help you design training and coaching that suits your business.

So, are you ready to go coach your employees?

To learn more about hiring the right talent, training, and coaching great employees, join the joyFULL People Signature Program: