Difference Between Teacher and Trainer and Coach

Teacher vs Trainer vs Coach


Among the words teacher, trainer and coach there are slight differences. How many times in our lives have 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 on 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.

Who is a Teacher?

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 a keen interest in the subject after teaching process is over. We find teachers in school settings, universities, etc. Now let us focus our attention on the role of a Trainer.

Difference Between a Teacher, Trainer, and Coach

Who is a Trainer?

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 the training period, reflect the ability of the trainer to pass on his skills. A trainer sees to it that trainees develop a new skill, unlike a coach who sees to it that the skills possessed by trainees are polished in the best possible manner. With this come to the role of the coach.

Teacher vs Trainer vs Coach

Who is a Coach?

A coach is required to sharpen 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.

Teacher vs Trainer vs Coach-1

What is the Difference Between a Teacher, Trainer, and Coach?

• We tend to use different words for a facilitator depending upon the 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.
• 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.

Image Courtesy:

1.”Ashs-teacher-and-students” by Mosborne01 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

2. US Navy 091207-N-3989D-001 Sailors assigned to the guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) practice skills controlling the boat by U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Missile Technician Nicholas Davies [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

3. US Navy 111111-N-SB672-061 Tom Izzo, head coach of the Michigan State University basketball team, instructs his players during a practice on the fl by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McCord [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Presto

    Teacher needs to be able to demonstrate the subject to the level of the standard being assessed.
    If the teacher is demonstrating to a higher level than the pupil, then Teaching is taking place. Teachers are trained to follow a curriculum.
    Trainer can be a specialised teacher, especially in physical subjects. A Trainer can also be an assessor of teachers, and must be able to show superior knowledge and ability in the subject. Trainers also assess and select. Trainers develop existing skills that have already been taught and learned by the trainee.
    Coaching is happening when the trainee is demonstrating at a higher level than the coach during the session. It is nevertheless the coach’s role to improve the trainee’s performance. The Coach is the person in charge who drives the programme, the facilitator, the knowledgebase, the person with the overall control of the development direction, level and timing. e.g. Andy Murray’s serving coach can’t serve better than Andy. But the coach can improve Andy’s already brilliant serving.
    Teaching, Graining and Coaching can all be delivered by the same individual in a session, depending upon who is the pupil or trainee.