The Differences Between Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Counselling

This is the most frequent question asked by managers. Many are confused with the terms and wonder which one is the best approach for the workplace environment.

Whether it is coaching, mentoring, training, or counselling, they are merely different leadership approaches. All of them advocate one common objective, i.e. improves human performance. Different folks different strokes. We do not have the best leadership approach, we only have a best-fit leadership approach to the situation you are dealing with.

By the way, find out why sports coaching and professional coaching are different.


The Differences Between Coaching, Mentoring, Training, and Counselling

The differences can be understood as follows: 

Coaching

Mentoring

Training

Counselling*

Goal

Improve behavioural performance for personal and professional success.

Support and guide personal or professional growth.

Transfer specific knowledge and skills.

Improve performance that is below standards.

Results

Goal achievement

Succession

Learning results

Performance improvement

Approach

Help individuals or groups self discover and take ownership to achieve the desired goal.

Transfer formal and tacit knowledge, skills, best practices, experience, wisdom and mindset.

Transfer specific knowledge and skills.

Confront, correct, and instruct of attitudinal or behavioural change.

Focused areas

  • Focus on the coachee's goal.
  • Help the coachee self discover hidden potentials and make behavioural and performance change.
  • Focus on the mentee's career goal / direction.
  • No specific learning plan - can be done formally and informally.
  • Help learners acquire specific knowledge and skills.
  • Learning based on pre-determined learning curriculum.
  • Manage the staff's poor performance.
  • Listen to their issues, give feedback, and manage expectations explicitly.

Relationships

Collaboration

Advisory

Teaching

Management

Communication styles

  • Non-directive approach.
  • Ask questions, listen, facilitate action plan and commitment.
  • Directive and non-directive approach.
  • Ask questions, listen, and advise.
  • Use more directive than non-directive approach.
  • Tell, teach, facilitate, and ask questions.
  • Use more directive than non-directive approach.
  • Tell, advise, and ask questions.

Time orientation

Present and future

Present and future

Present

Past and present

Duration

Short and medium

Medium and long

Short

Short

* Based on workplace non-clinical performance management intervention

Meanwhile, click here and find out what exactly coaching is

In the workplace, a manager wears different leadership hats at different times and situations. If you are the manager who has mastered both directive and non-directive communication styles, you have an edge to instruct, influence, and inspire your people.

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Simon Yap

Simon is the ICF-Professional Certified Coach (PCC) specialises in B2B sales, leadership, and sales coaching. He has an affinity for running, foods, travel, and contents conversion.

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