In an organization various employee development programs are undertaken to improve the level of performance, increase employee engagement, and build a stronger workforce by increasing employee-manager relationships.  This employee development is often accomplished through any one of three techniques:

  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Training


These terms can be confusing due to the similarity they might convey, but in actuality, there is a difference between all three words.  I would like to address these techniques and clarify their meaning and the time or situation when you select one a technique over the other. These techniques are a critical component in increasing your employees’ professional development, which in return, creates a significant positive change throughout your organization.


Coaching is thought of as a process of training and supervising a person to better their performance, while mentoring refers to the counseling process carried on to guide and support a person for career development.  Training is a process by which someone is taught the skill or skills necessary for a specific art, profession, job or behavior.


On the surface, these three terms look and sound very similar, but they are anything but that.  The table below demonstrates the difference between the three and provides a more descriptive context for each technique.


So when do you use coaching vs. mentoring vs. training?  The table below provides some direction.


Coaching and mentoring are increasingly used for professional development, to indicate a positive change in individuals, and to encourage the transfer of knowledge from the coach/mentor to the individual. Organizations and companies find coaching and mentoring highly beneficial for the career growth of their employees so coaching and mentoring has been applied by many entities in their organizational practices.


At the workplace, coaching is often used when the management finds that there are working individuals who need to enhance their potential to perform better in their jobs and to be more productive. There may be skills that need to be strengthened, lapses in working behavior and issues with performance output corrected. Once this is assessed, these employees could be recommended for coaching. Invista Performance Solutions believes that coaching is the most individually tailored practice in talent development, involving a close relationship between the coach and the person(s) being coached.  For more information on how IPS can help, please click here to see how we can train your managers to function effectively as coaches (performance coaching), or provide you with an expert coach from our team.


Training an employee to narrow the gap between existing skills and required skills to accomplish a particular job will not only yield monetary benefits, but also lead to job satisfaction and general well-being of the employee. They become more motivated and remain loyal to the company longer than employees who lack the required skills. The benefits of employee training are both intrinsic and extrinsic and some of them are identified in the chart above.