Trainer and coach are the words that fall into the league of words and phrases that are hard to define. You may dabble around for hours together and may reach the grey area that separates trainer and coach. However, has anyone managed to draw lines in the sand on the sea beach and kept them safe from the waves? Therefore, the lines will be blurred. That does not mean though trainer and coach mean the same thing. Yes, it means that, a trainer is not a coach and a coach is not a trainer.
Let us try to understand the differences between a coach and a trainer from their modus operandi.
A coach operates in a process mode. It means he/she builds a process. And then seeks all those who are getting coaching strive for and work hard on a consistent basis to follow the process. It will set out a standard where the coach wants everyone to adhere to on a regular basis. Here the maximum focus is on the execution of all the steps involved in a process and not much on the outcomes. For example, if your goal is to write a best seller – then your coach will develop a method and momentum in a process for you. The process can stretch and challenge your mind and capability and help you find the required solution. Your process then is not to write when you feel motivated to write rather your process is to become a writer. A person who can write every day while focusing on improving the skill of writing regardless of how you feel. So here is the coach whose tenacity can take you to the league of best sellers by following the process consistently.
Suppose you want to start your own startup, a coach will devise a process for you. Your coach will drill you relentlessly in the basic skills and then keep on improving it. Your process is not to develop your business when you feel inspired to do that. Your process is to become an entrepreneur. A person who develops the business every day in spite of how he/she feels. Your coach will make you capable to step ‘up to the plate’ and address the audience with an assertiveness about your enterprise. Therefore, a coach has the potential not just positively impact and influence the lives of others but also to inspire lives of many more.
In a process-oriented method, the importance is on what you need to do next. The focus remains on what you are going to do next and doing it to the best of your capability. That means you get organized and committed to the process of taking action on a daily basis. Positive outcomes are inevitable when you commit to a process.
A trainer is an expert on a particular subject. You can call him/her a subject matter expert. You can think of a trainer as your personal trainer. When you want to lose weight, you hire a personal trainer who helps you lose weight. You want to run a marathon you will seek a trainer who will help you run a marathon because he/she is expert in imparting you the knowledge and skills required to run a marathon. You want to become a programmer (such as Java programmer). You will attend Java classes from the trainer who will transfer your knowledge and skills about Java programming.
That sums up the philosophy of being a trainer. A trainer is someone who has a pool of knowledge and skills of a particular subject. The mission of a trainer is to transfer this knowledge to other persons through the medium of teaching, lecturing, etc. Here in the trainer’s method, the focus remains on the outcomes of the training and not on the process of training.
Let us wrap up these two words of coach and trainer in this way. If you want to run a marathon, your trainer will help you run a marathon but your coach will not help you run a marathon instead he/she will help you live the life you dream of. That is what it makes as such, “a Trainer instructs you, a Coach constructs you”.