Trainer vs Coach

I’ve been seeing/hearing a few posts/emails/discussion on which is better an Agile Trainer or an Agile Coach.  I haven’t done a pet peeves post in a while but this one might be close – more of a rant post.  Agile Trainer vs Agile coach is a complete waste of time topic.

First, let’s make align on what I consider within these terms: Training vs Coaching

Training:  Transferring content knowledge from one person to others (this is successfully done in ways beyond simply telling)

Coaching: Unlocking and exploring knowledge from within others

These are my super simple definitions.  Now notice I used the skill “ing” version not the role version.  I truly believe that we have overloaded the titles Agile Trainer and Agile Coach.  I know Agile Trainers that are amazing at training and coaching skills.  I know Agile Coaches that are amazing at training and coaching skills.  I know Agile Trainers that never use coaching.  I know Agile Coaches that never use training.  I know Agile Trainers that in my opinion don’t really train but consult/tell.  I know Agile Coaches that in my opinion don’t really coach but consult/tell.

I think what bothers me most in this “vs” equation is that there is an implication one skill is more important.  I just don’t believe that.  I think any leader should know how to both train and how to coach.  Both of these skills are essential and valuable.  Regardless of what a person might refer to themselves as – are they a leader?  That’s who I want helping me…someone who can both train and coach.

What comes to mind for you with this question?

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