Coaching Vs. Teaching

1 Jul

My dad is very much into watching the World Cup. Sometimes, when the team he supports loses, he blames the coach. He said that the coach of the England team shouldn’t let the shortie be the striker. I don’t know much about soccer, but it seems to me  that a coach is similar to a teacher, who is responsible for teaching others and the scapegoat who is to blame for the learners’ failure.

In the book “Tuesdays with Morrie”, Mitch called Morrie ‘coach’ instead of  ‘tutor’ or ‘teacher’. So I was thinking a coach must mean a lot more than a teacher. I raised the question, “What’s the difference between coaching and teaching?”, on my facebook status, hoping to get some feedback. One of my best friends, Man Yin, who is also a teacher, really takes my question seriously. She looks up on the dictionary and gives her own opinion as well.

1.A process to teach a person or team the skills they need for a sport.
2.A process to help someone to prepare for an important test.
3.To prepare what they should say or do in a particular situation, used to show disapproval. Eg. The girl must have been carefully coached in what to say in court.

1.To give lesson to help someone learn about something by giving them information
2.To show someone how to do something
3.To show or tell someone how they should behave or what they should think
4.To understand something about life

(Her opinion)
Same: for people, help people
Different: coaching is more related to sports, more related to tests.

Thanks Man Yin for giving me the basic ideas. It is true that a coach is usually the one who teaches sports. However, the way Mitch refers Morrie as his coach should mean something more. I further looked up on the Internet and quite like the following explaination : ( It even explains the similarity and difference between Coaching and Training/Mentoring/Counselling..

The biggest difference between a teacher and a coach is perhaps the relationship with the learners. The dominant party in the teacher-pupil relationship is the teacher. One decides what to teach and how to teach, so students take a relatively passive role trying their best to learn. On the other hand, a coach doesn’t provide input or advice to tell what the coachee should do. Instead one’s role is to probe and encourage and help the coachee make sense of things for him or her self. The writer used a metaphor to explain this concept. A coach is like a mirror. A mirror will not tell you what hair style should you have or whether or not to have some make up. It simply shows the way you are, so you can then decide what to do next.  Therefore, the best coaches are the ones who help people develop a deep sense of self-awareness.

Coincidently, something related to coaching appeared in the book I’m reading just now. The book is called ” Letting go of your bananas”. The writer says that having a transformation coach can help one transform life. A coach, unlike a teacher, does not just tell you what to do and show you how to do it, but hold you personally accountable. Without a high level of personal accountability, very little permanent change takes place.

Now that I know why Morrie is such a valuable coach to Mitch. Morrie allows Mitch to fully understand about oneself and uses his own life to do the teaching. He is a role model that inspires me to be a teacher who coaches. This, is one of my goals to be achieved. ^_^


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