Teacher vs Trainer vs Coach
How many times in our lives we come across words like teacher, trainer, coach, mentor, guide, counselor, facilitator etc but rarely do we appreciate the subtle difference between the functions and responsibilities of each of these roles. It seems most of these words being synonyms of each other but in reality, and we will here concentrate upon terms like teacher, trainer, and coach to know if these words are any different from one another.
The most important role played by these persons is that of a facilitator. By facilitator I mean a person who is the keeper of the process. But would anyone like to be called a facilitator? No. It is only logical to classify people according to the primary role played by them, and this is where differences between a teacher, trainer and a coach begin to surface. Teaching is the art of passing on knowledge to a group of people. A teacher provides formal education to students so that they develop and grow within themselves. One judges the success of a teacher by the ability of his students to grasp and understand the concepts he explains to them. Though teachers are mainly facilitators in passing on knowledge, they take a keen interest in the development of personalities of their students so that they continue to take keen interest in the subject after teaching process is over.
A trainer is a person who focuses on a specific area of development. He tries to impart the skills and best practices to achieve success in a particular area. Trainees, if they can get to the level of the trainer after training period, reflect the ability of the trainer to pass on his skills. A trainer sees to it that trainees develop a new skill whereas a coach sees to it that the skills possessed by trainees are polished in the best possible manner. A coach is required to hone the skills a person already has, to excel in the chosen field. A coach offers advice on the basis of an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of his protégés so that they develop in the chosen field. It is seen that coaches train world class players though they may not have excelled to that level themselves.
However, there is quite a bit of overlapping in the roles and functions of teacher, trainer and a coach. To be effective, it is not enough to be a good teacher and one need to incorporate the qualities of a trainer and a coach, and vice versa.
• We tend to use different words for a facilitator depending upon context. We call a person a teacher who passes on formal education when we are kids. A person is called a coach when his services help a protégé to excel in a chosen field and a trainer when the facilitator tries to develop new skills in a student. The three jobs are overlapping and require intermingling of qualities to be effective in each role.