Life Coaching or Training?

There are many times when we need help, support, advice and guidance. Of course we can often turn to family and friends, but sometimes they might not be appropriate. Many people are now turning to life coaching to fill that void.

But an often asked (and rightly so) question is just what is life coaching and what does a life coach do? This article explores the difference between coaching and training.

Coaching Vs Training – What’s the Difference?

By Samantha Buckley Hugessen

There is an enormous difference between coaching and training. Yet, the two get confused all the time. Read on to discover some of the key differences.

In the past the term “coach” was a word that was adopted by the training profession as a step, or a piece in the process of training.

I have been a trainer for over 20 years and I remember when the word was introduced. It was intended to be used as a follow up to the training. To check for implementation of what was trained. It looked like this: Train – Observe – Coach.

I can honestly say that in all of my years in sales, rarely (if ever) have I attended a training that has been followed up with observing and coaching.

One truth is that coaching utilizes a very different and unique set of skills than those used in training, in and of itself “coaching should be viewed as it’s own profession”.

Here are a few of the key differentiators; Training is… teaching people to do what they don’t know how to do.


  1. Impart knowledge.
  2. Tell people how to do something.
  3. There is typically a pre-set curriculum and the teacher imparts what he or she thinks is important for the student.
  4. Expect a specific predetermined result.
  5. Most often train in groups.
  6. Coaching is… helping to identify the skills and capabilities that are within the person, and enabling them to use them to move forward.


  1. Unearth wisdom.
  2. Ask purposeful questions and listen intently.
  3. Make room for the individual to exclusively determine their agenda and pace.
  4. Offer and facilitate tools and assessments for self discovery.
  5. More commonly work in a “one on one” session with individuals. (however group sessions are becoming more common than in the past).
  6. Help to separate feelings from facts.
  7. Facilitate personal action plans to achieve goals.
  8. Cause an individual to assume greater personal responsibility for his or her own success or failure.

Do you see how they differ? They work beautifully together when the facilitator knows the differences.

It is true, many trainers become coaches. But coaching should not be thrown around as a “buzz word” it is after receiving formal education as a professional coach that the differences are truly distinguished.

For more information on what is required to become an accredited coach visit the International coaching federations website (ICF).

Samantha Buckley Hugessen A designed life.


Are you interested in Becoming A Personal Life Coach?

At The Personal Development Cafe we have created a page that can teach you how you can learn what’s needed on the path to a becoming a Personal Life Coach. You can also find useful information on our Coaching Articles page.

If you are looking for a life coach or wish to advertise your services, then go to the NLP Life Coach Directory where you can find life coaches, NLP practitioners and hypnotherapists in your area and internationally.

Do you have any life coaching tips you would like to share, comments or questions that you would like answered? Simply use our comments below to post or reply to life coaching question and answers.