Coaching or Training – Which one is it?

Published on January 9, 2012

It seems like everywhere you look these days you are hearing about coaching. There are a variety of programs out there, both individual and group that are titled "coaching programs" but essentially they are training courses. (Examples: technology, social media, large group programs, etc.).

This doesn't seem like a big deal really...semantics, right?

It depends. If you are looking for better results and seeking resources to get them, it is an important distinction. Choosing training when you need coaching or coaching when you need training can cost you time, money, and unnecessary frustration.

In our coaching practice, my clients often discover that their biggest challenges do not lie in their lack of knowledge or training. It lies in their implementation of such knowledge.

You can go to a million training classes, but if there is something within you that is keeping your from fully executing such knowledge, that is a coaching issue...not a training issue.

Here are a few ways to know if a program being offered is training or coaching:


  • The same workbooks, tools, or materials are provided for each participant.
  • The person leading the call (i.e. coach/trainer) talks more than the participant(s).
  • New information being taught or shared is the primary purpose for the call/class.
  • There is a set agenda established by the leader for the call/class.
  • The participant is not creating the content...the trainer is providing it.
  • Content delivery is primary focus.
  • Deals with tasks and activities.
  • Trainer serves as a teacher. He or she "tells" you what you need to know.


  • Various tools are utilized based on the client’s needs, goals, and intentions.
  • The client contributes to the conversation more than the coach.
  • Primary purpose for the call/meeting is determined by the client & his/her goals, intentions, needs.
  • The client establishes the agenda based on current desired outcomes.
  • The coach knows that the client has the answers to solve any issues and helps the client to gain clarity, author solutions, find resources, and establish actions to move forward.
  • Client and client’s circumstances are primary focus.
  • Deals with obstacles to growth, personal strengths, behaviors, thinking patterns, life experience, resistance, awareness, and belief systems.
  • Coach serves as a guide, facilitator, and objective observer. He or she asks great questions causing you to self-discover.


Think about it like this. If you took a class and said, “That is exactly what I need to do in order to be successful. It is clearly evident to me that this will change my life.”

And then following the class you find yourself saying or thinking, “Why can’t I just do what they taught in that class? I know what I am supposed to do, so why am I not doing it? I am smarter and more talented than _____ and they seem to be making that system work, so why can’t I? Maybe I will take another class that will teach me a key piece that I must have missed in the last class and that will make the difference.” And so on....

Coaching is about taking your current knowledge, your life experience, your intuition, your God given talents and strengths, and helping you to take actions that move you forward toward your goals, dreams, and intentions in life and/or business.

So, is it therapy? Well, yes, kind of. Coaching relationships or sessions can be therapeutic. The difference is that people typically seek counselors and therapists for helping them with things that have happened in the past or issues related to mental illness. They are seeking "healing."  Coaches focus on the future and taking people from where they are in the current moment and helping them move forward. Coaching clients are otherwise healthy and capable individuals seeking growth and improved results. Ah-ha moments frequently come as a result of conversations during coaching which lead to transformation.


Keep taking training when you need to learn new things. Seek counseling if you require healing. Hire a personal coach when you want to master what you have learned, take action, and improve results.


Nikki and Chris Buckelew are recognized international real estate coaches, trainers, and speakers. Their specialty is sales and leadership coaching.  Clients who hire Nikki and Chris are often seeking assistance in increasing their profitability without sacrificing their health, relationships, and core values. For more information visit

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...