• The Business Owner

Is it coaching, or training?

In today`s business arena there are so many coaches available to help a business or individual to grow, simply hundreds of coaches, so what is coaching? Coaching should give the individual the roots to grow and the wings to fly.


There are so many words that get thrown around including coaching, mentoring, training, business growth, personal growth, business development and all have expert added to the end them – no doubt you get the daily message on LinkedIn from a business transformation expert or guru!!


Let’s get back to basics and look at coaching versus training and to do so we need to go back to the 1990`s and a change in the world of sport with the emergence of sport science. Up to the 1990`s sport had predominantly been amateur with only a few sports professional and even then, only partly professional compared to today, even rugby union was not professional at the start of the 90`s. A typical sports team had a “coach” who really was a trainer and a “sponge person” or a physio type person.


Coaching is tailored to the individual, whereas training is the acquisition of a new skill. A great example of this is how to make a cup of tea – if you have no idea how to make a cup of tea then you would be taught how to make a cup of tea, shown the stages in doing this and follow a set format that is trained, it is the same skill for anyone wanting to learn how to make a cup of tea. Coaching can be seen as a change to a fundamental part of a skill suited to the individual to make the individual better in that action.


There are some great examples of coaching in action from a sports perspective, the England Rugby team of 2003 where Sir Clive Woodward had adopted a coaching culture with a focus on individual coaching, including skills specific coaches, something that Johnny Wilkinson benefited hugely from. Sir Clive introduced the marginal gain culture if we can improve 100 things by 1%. This culture was soon adopted by other sports teams including Team Sky brining home huge cycling success that transcended into GB Cycling and the last two decades has seen British cycling enjoy unrivalled success.


Everyone needs training, it is the basis of whatever we want to do and do well, the 10,000-hour principle for becoming an expert is still true today as much as ever. Where coaching gives real value is looking at the needs of the individual and small marginal changes that can create a huge difference, not a huge number of changes to make a difference. An elite level sports coach will notice one little thing not being done correctly and change it or trying a different approach to a challenge that will make the difference for the individual.


If you are looking for a coach you need to look at what works for you and what you are really looking to achieve by working with a coach. A coach will be a great listener, but equally they are not there to do your job, they are there to make you more effective in your job, be that a manager or a company owner. The coach that comes in a tells you are doing everything wrong and tries to get you to do everything their way is not a coach.


When looking for a coach check out their credentials, what makes them a coach, what experience do they have, what knowledge of your industry do they have, what achievements have they had and can they walk the walk! A coach will become a confident and as such you need to trust them and be able to relate to them, they should never become a friend, but they should become a go to resource when you need it.


Everyone should have a coach and everyone who is serious about being the very best they can be needs a coach for life and for business. An hour with a great coach can save you hundreds of lost hours and be one of the best investments you ever make, but an hour with the wrong coach could be your worst decision ever. Make sure you ask around for recommendations, check out local business websites of network groups for information on coaches and do your research. You can have more than one coach, you could have a money coach, a sales coach and personal coach, it depends on what you are looking for.