Training vs. Coaching: Best Learning Processes

Eric Madura, Ytel |  

When you want your employees to learn a new skill, the way that you teach them is just as important as what you teach them. There is a difference between training and coaching, and you need to know the difference if you are going to employ the strategies that are best for your team.

Training and coaching are too often used as synonyms for continuing education within a company, a mistake that often results in a loss of cost efficiency over time. Knowing the difference between training and coaching may drastically affect the efficiency of your company's continued education efforts. Understand the nuances between the two, and apply each according to its strengths.

Training Means...

Training your team means staying hands on with the learning process. Although you may outsource the technical aspects of the skill set to a third party, training means that your management and executive levels set a specific tone for the process. Training takes your employees to a new level of understanding through process rather than through self indulgence in a subject. Read more about agent training tips here.

For instance, teaching an entire department how to navigate the basics of a new communications API is an operation that a training video could handle. You do not want a great deal of variance when it comes to basic operations, so teaching a standardized process is advantageous here.

coaching Means...

Coaching your team is less about process and providing resources when they are needed. Coaching is all about real time application, and it may be outsourced in the same way as training. However, there is usually a less formal relationship between a coach and an employee than there is with training.

Continuing the above example, coaching would be more appropriate after everyone learns the basic operations of a new communications API. A company might then invest in departmental coaches to improve the performance of an employee in a particular aspect of multichannel cloud communications. A coach would be able to relay information about real world applications of a structure rather than simply informing an employee how to turn the system on or off.

Should I choose training or coaching for my team?

The choice between training and coaching depends on many factors: 

  • Employee skill set - Training is usually meant to render an employee a basic skill set that may be completely new to that person. If an employee has a coach, that employee has more likely mastered the basics of the process the coach is referring to.
  • Scale of operation – Because training is a more formal, standardized process, it can be more easily scaled. Teaching a large number of people a basic skill set through a standardized process is more efficient than trying to personalize each experience with a coach. However, if you are trying to increase performance in a few key employees, coaching may be a much better option because of the ability to personalize the interaction.
  • Process type – Is the information to be relayed applicable to everyone in the company, or are you trying to optimize the performance of a few key employees? Training is much better employed for a process that everyone needs to know; coaching is better for individual performance improvement.


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About The Author

Eric Madura, Ytel

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Eric is the Ytel Customer Support Manager and believes in a “Customer First” approach to servicing clients. He has spent his entire professional career in customer service, including managing a variety of call centers over the past 16+ years.

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