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I was watching Advice Chicks video on “From Mess to Success” series and I suddenly remember when I was training the VA industry. I used to define coaching, mentoring and training all the same until recently, I learned their difference so I thought of sharing them with you.

Coaching is when you intentionally hired an expert to help you with a specific goal.

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For example, I want to start my own business but I can’t do it alone due to self-discipline issues, procrastination, fear, lack of confidence or simply, lack of push. So, I would hire someone to help me reach a certain goal which is finally starting my business and get a client! Using measurable steps based on her expertise on the field, she will teach me how to do it. There would be training, some pushing, problem solving, motivation and discovery sessions.

At the beginning of the relationship, the coach has a job to do and the person who hired him/her has an obligation to comply or the money invested will be put to waste.

We often hear the term “coach” in sports. A coach trains and allows the person being trained to solve problems on his own, too. Since not all the time, the coach is around, he/she suggests solution to an already existing problem or future ones.

He/she also gives room for self realization through psychological approach and might meddle with wrong decisions in order to ensure attainability of the set goal. Ever wonder why sports coaches get emotional sometimes? Because it’s part of their job to ensure that the goal is attained. There is pressure and contract involved.

A Mentor is the same in nature though there is no formal identification of the relationship. Mostly, the mentor doesn’t realize that he is mentoring someone while the person being mentored may or may not follow the advice given.

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In most cases, the two have prior relationships. They may be friends, teacher-student, colleague or even family members. It’s also possible that you are just following a person’s book or principle because there is no clear boundary to the relationship, the goal that the mentoree set may not be scientifically measured by an expert though the learning he/she gets from the mentor but that doesn’t diminish the value of his teachings.

I consider a lot of online entrepreneurs especially those in the field of marketing, sales, SEO, blogging and training, my mentors. They may not know that I’m learning from the materials they put out online, but their teaching still impacts my growth so much.

Trainer is somewhat similar, too, though with a specified lesson plan or modules to be followed. Unlike the coach, a trainer teaches in a classroom type of learning. These days, most trainers have also gone virtual. They teach through the form of webinars, teleseminars, hangouts or Youtube videos.

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Though there is no contract involved and a specific target, the trainer should follow the lesson plan and must teach it in ways he/she feels most relevant to the students in order to achieve the best result.

Are you getting the difference now? Can you tell us who your coach and mentor is? How about the trainer? See, it’s fun to have them identified properly. And if you’re also thinking about becoming a mentor or a coach, which would you prefer?

Tell us in the comments below. If you like this post, kindly share it to your friends. You never know, they may need enlightenment on this matter, too. 🙂