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No matter what stage of life you are in, we can all benefit from having a variety of companions and guides to help aid us in our journey. These guides will come in a number of different forms and have a number of different roles. In some cases, we may be in a situation that we could benefit from having a teacher but someone chooses to be a mentor instead, which may not actually give us the support we need. In other cases, someone may be in need of a mentor but we try and take on the role of a teacher instead. Here are the key differences between coaching, training, teaching and mentoring.


A person needs a teacher when they have absolutely no fundamental knowledge of a given topic whatsoever. Teaching helps to impart or instill the knowledge base necessary that can then be used in practice. Too often, mentors, coaches and other guides try and take on a teaching role when someone already has all the head knowledge they need. Trying to take on this role when it is not needed may only serve to alienate the person they are trying to mentor.


Once a person has a certain amount of head knowledge in a certain area, it is time to put it into practice. This is similar to the process of reading several training manuals before attempting to drive a car. Once head knowledge has been acquired, it is time to put it into practice through training.


Once an individual has gained a certain amount of knowledge and experience in a certain field, they still need help navigating through the many landmines and setbacks that can occur in their field. A mentor is someone who has already navigated the waters they will need to navigate through and can give them sound guidance along the way


A coach doesn’t necessarily need to have all the same knowledge and experience that their client does. Unlike a teacher, they are not imparting knowledge, they are helping their client become their best self. For instance, a coach with absolutely no knowledge of how hedge funds work can still help a seasoned hedge fund manager reach new pinnacles of success.