• Home
  • >
  • Blog
  • >
  • The Differences Between Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Counselling

It 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 have 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: 






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.


Goal achievement


Learning results

Performance improvement


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.






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


Past and present


Short and medium

Medium and long



* 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.

About the Author

Simon is the ICF-Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Certified Trainer, Facilitator, Coach Trainer, and Food Service Specialist. He specialises in business selling, leadership development, and coaching culture building.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}