Mentoring, Coaching, and Training

Most of the differences between mentoring, coaching and training can be credited to the over-fertile imaginations of people’s minds. Indeed, experts say that there are no clearlydrawn differences between these three when it comes to the method of delivery. However, when we come to the objectives, there are subtle differences among mentoring, coaching and training.


Training is completely work-related, and its objectives are determined by the job responsibility of the trainees. The goal of training is to enable trainees get expertise on a set of professional skills.

Training depends substantially on the phenomenon of social learning. Trainers generally demonstrate the right procedure of getting a task done, along with explaining the desired outcome to the trainees. The learning pedagogy is more often mimicking the actions and instructions of the trainer, and repeating them until a successful imitation has been achieved.


Coaching has a specific, time-bound, and specific goal. There is more emphasis on achieving a tough goal through dedication, focus and constant efforts, with constant feedback, suggestions and motivation delivered by the coach. Depending on the way in which they are implemented, there are four kinds of coaching −

  • Query-based Coaching − The coach doesn’t give out answers when he gets a wrong answer but keeps asking questions to his pupil, and lets the pupil find the answer on his own.

  • Hands-on Coaching − The coach demonstrates what he feels is the best way to tackle a situation, and then leaves it to the pupil to either try the said method, or find a new one himself.

  • Intervention Coaching − The coach keeps himself limited to observing and allowing the pupil to try and find out a solution, and only intervening when he feels like the attempt is going to lead to a sure failure with serious consequences.

  • Guidance Coaching − The coach lets the pupil operate mostly on auto-pilot. This mode of coaching is generally adopted by coaches who have dedicated, focused and hardworking pupils. All they have to do is to maintain the levels of ambition high by giving reminders and pep-talks when necessary.


Mentoring goes beyond the boundaries of professional advice or guidance, and may touch upon any aspect of the mentee’s life. The mentor’s job is to oversee and chart out the proper path for career path of the mentee. This includes the mentor giving coaching and training to the mentee as and when required, and also referring him to seek professional help from other experts.

In short, coaching and training are more directed towards career development, whereas mentoring targets both career and personal development of the employees. Although all of these methods of teaching educate people on how to create a vision and how to set goals, none of them guarantee optimum results.

And that’s because all these three activities rely heavily on the dedication and self-belief of the person who is enrolled into this. A lot of effort and motivation is needed to rise above yourself and be someone you always aspired to be.