Similarities and Differences between Teaching and Coaching

Subject: 🎓 Education
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1200
Topics: Teaching Philosophy, High School
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Teaching and coaching are words that people use often without realizing that they have different meanings. Although coaching and teaching have some similar characteristics, they are different concepts. Teaching is the act of imparting knowledge, or instructing someone on how to perform a specific task. It is the process of giving instructions about a given topic or a given skill. Teaching uses examples and experience to impart knowledge to someone. Coaching, on the other hand, can be used to refer to training or instructing a team or player. Coaching can also refer to the act of giving extra or private teaching to someone. According to (Matsumura et al. 2014), couching is a good strategy to guide learners who have poor performance in school. A coach is a person who offers assistance to an individual or a small group of people to help them understand a given concept. Therefore, coaching is an advanced form of teaching. Coaching incorporates the act of teaching. However, the main difference between teaching and coaching is the fact that coaching is focused, specialized and has an aspect of extra.

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A coach helps someone to learn, unlike in teaching where a teacher has an active role in imparting knowledge; a coach simply facilitates teaching by helping the learner to learn. Therefore, a coach is not an expert but a facilitator while the learner is expected to have an active role in learning (Matsumura et al. 2013). In teaching, a learn is passive and only speaks when responding to the teacher but in coaching the learner plays an active role and the coach is there to facilitate the learning. In coaching, the coach perceives that the learner has the answer and requires guidance to find the answer. In teaching, the teacher introduces new knowledge to the learner and the learner is supposed to listen and ask questions in case they do not understand the concept. The best skill that coaches should possess is the ability to ask the right questions. Since a coach tries to exploit the knowledge that is inside the learner, ability to ask the appropriate questions will help the learner to realize their potential and capabilities.

A teacher is an expert and the learner looks forward to learning new things from the teacher. A teacher provides new knowledge and information to a learner. In teaching, the teacher is active while the learner is passive. The work of the teacher is to give information while the learner listens. The teacher is the center of focus and the controller and follows a specific curriculum. A teacher uses teaching materials that have been approved for teaching. The teacher is supposed to impart knowledge on a designated course. Therefore, teachers have specific structures and methods of teaching to follow when teaching. Teaching is not tailored and personalized to each learners but instead it is general. Though students have different capabilities of understanding the concepts being taught, the teacher uses a general teaching method to impart knowledge in all students. This is different when it comes to coaching. A coach offers customized, tailored and personalized guidance to the learner. Coaching aims at improving performance of a learner hence exploiting full potential of a learner (Rosha 2013). There is no curriculum to be followed when coaching. The coach uses his/her own methods to exploit the potential of a learner. The coaching method depends on the capabilities of an individual students and the coach does not use a general approach to help the learner.

Teaching is a formal process of imparting knowledge to learners. Teachers follow particular approved and mandatory structures. According to (Coburn 2008), there are policies that guide and influence the performance of a teacher. Teachers use books and materials that have been approved for teaching. Teaching is demonstrative, directive, and instructive and the association between a teacher and a learner is purely professional. Teaching is not flexible to meet the needs of a particular learner but rather the teacher uses a general method and model of teaching that does not respond to needs of individual learners. The teacher and the leaner may have distance and impersonal relationship. A teacher may not be concerned with the social cultural aspect of the learner. This is because the teacher is concerned with providing new knowledge to the learner. The main objective of a teacher is to deliver the require output but not necessary facilitating understanding for all the learners. 

Coaching is not entirely professional, and a coach does not follow any formalized structures. A coach does not require books or any approved materials. Use of books and any materials is based on the requirements of the learner but no formal structures require coaching to use books, (Biancarosa et al. 2010). Coaching is based on free, open and active conversations between the coach and the learner. The coach focusses on the learner and tries to understand the best approach to employ in order to achieve the required results. A coach is free to choose the best strategy to use when instructing the learner. The relationship between the coach and the learner is informal (Stojnov 2010). The coach and the learner have equal status and therefore the learner frees free to interact with the coach. Coaches may not have formal structures like school where they perform their roles, (Blarney 2009). Since a coach is concerned with exploiting the hidden potential of the learner, it is necessary to consider the social-cultural aspect of the learner in order to determine the effect of social cultural aspects in the performance of the learner. A coach focuses on the learner and the main objective of the coach is to ensure the potential of the learner is realized. According to (Medrich et al. 2013), couching is an effective way of improving performance of a learner. Coaching is flexible to the needs and wants of a learner. If the learner is a slow learner, the coaches adapts to the needs of the individual learner.

Teachers and coaches share a number of similar skills and characteristics. Both teachers and coaches possess listening skills, communication, skills, observational skills, motivational skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills, organizational skills and critical thinking skills. In both teaching and coaching, the element of motivation is essential. The teacher must motivate the learners to learn and work hard in understanding the knowledge imparted. Coaches also employ the aspect of motivation in order the learners can be willing to be instructed. Motivation can be achieved through conversations and motivational talks. In both teaching and coaching assessments on the progress and level of understanding are carried out. Teaching may apply tests to determine learner’s performance. Coaching may utilize feedback mechanism to determine the progress of the learner. Both teachers and coaches possess organizational skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills. Both teachers and coaches have a vast knowledge in a specific skill and area of knowledge. Teaching and coaching involves use of language to direct leaners.

Teaching and coaching are different concepts but they have several similarities. Despite the differences between coaching and teaching, teaching is embedded in both practices. Coaches offer guidance and directions so that learners can discover their potentials and capabilities. Teachers impart new knowledge to learners.

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  1. Biancarosa, G., Bryk, A., & Dexter, E. (2010). Assessing the value-added effects of literacy collaborative professional development on student learning, Elementary School Journal. 111(1), 7-34.
  2. Blarney, K. L., Meyer, C. K., & Walpole, S. (2009). Middle and high school literacy coaches: A national survey. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 52(4), 310-323
  3. Coburn, C. E., & Russell, J. L. (2008). District policy and teachers’ social networks. Educational  Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 30(3), 203-235
  4. Matsumura, L.C., & Wang, E. (2014). Principals’ Sense making of Coaching for Ambitious Reading Instruction in a High-Stakes Accountability Environment. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22 (51). This article is part of EPAA/AAPE’s Special Issue on Politics, Policies, and Practices of Coaching and Mentoring Programs, Guest Edited by Dr. Sarah Woulfin.  
  5. Matsumura, L.C., Garnier, H.E., & Spybrook, J. (2013). Literacy coaching, reading comprehension instruction and student achievement: A multi-level mediation model. Learning and Instruction, 25, 35-48.
  6. Medrich, E., Fitzgerald, R., & Skomsvold, P. (2013). Instructional coaching and student outcomes: Findings from a three year pilot study [Abstract]. MPR Associates. Retrieved from
  7. Stojnov, D. & Pavlovic, J. (2010). An invitation to personal construct coaching: From personal construct therapy to personal, construct coaching. International Coaching Psychology Review, Vol.pp. 129-139.  
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