Coach or Train?

We’ve worked with many employers over the years, guiding the way as employees move through each stage of their educational journey.

To continue with the journey metaphor, we’re going to take a look at which educational “mode of transport” is most suited to your employees’ journey – coach or train?

In other words, should you be asking us to coach your people, or to train them? What’s the difference and does it really matter anyway?

To answer these questions, it’s worth taking a look at the differences between the attributes of coaching and training – and indeed, mentoring. Here is a fascinating graphic one of our specialists put together to illustrate this:

Mentor Vs Coach Vs Trainer

As you can see, each of these modes of education is different, and is used to address different situations.

For example, John is a trainee refrigeration technician. He is new on the job, and needs to understand how to assemble a cooling unit. Mentoring will likely boost John’s motivation no end, and encourage him to develop those softer skills that are so vital in any career; but mentoring will still leave him clueless as to how to assemble that cooling unit. What he needs for that is “hard” training; a direct transfer of specific, necessary skills for a particular, well-defined task.

Conversely, Jo is a new manager. She has worked until now supervising the refrigeration technicians, often getting involved hands-on with physical, technical problems. Now she finds herself quite suddenly far away from the shop floor, alone in her office, responsible for conceptual rather than tangible problems. Further training will enhance Jo’s technical skills in the workplace, but this is not what she needs right now. What Jo needs is to boost her soft skills and to learn how to think around complex conceptual problems for herself. Jo needs coaching, not training. Jo may also need a plan for longer-term personal growth, and someone to review and monitor that growth with her from time to time. This is mentoring.

You will likely have limited resources for developing your team, so it’s important to spend the money where you will get the best return in the form of increased productivity, higher staff morale, lower staff turnover and sickness, increased sales and reduced costs – in other words it’s important to choose the courses and qualifications that will give the best return on investment. The first step in that process is often to choose the right format of educational activity, whether coaching, training or mentoring.

At Always Consult, we can help you decide on the best mode of “transport” for your employees’ educational journey. We have solid experience, specialist personnel – and we’re an accredited provider with ILM, OCR and Pearson (BTEC).

Whether you have a current, imminent or future requirement, please contact us any time for a chat about your options. After all, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.

Comments are closed.