Are You A Trainer Or A Coach?

Are You A Trainer Or A Coach?

Growing up, my dad was always a stickler about words.  He would tell me to never use a word while speaking or writing if I didn’t have an clear understanding of what that word meant.  He warned me using words improperly could lead to sounding inappropriate, or worst case, downright stupid. I learned to pay particular attention to the words I use, and make sure to define words I don’t completely understand before I apply them.  Simply put, you shouldn’t use a word until you “own” it.

In the fitness industry, there are many words that can be quite confusing.  For instance, the word “Plyometrics” is one of the most dangerously misunderstood and improperly applied words in training.  (Plyometrics, by the way, doesn’t mean jumping on a box for three minutes!).  Then there are nebulous, nutritional buzz-words like “Fortified,” “Natural” and “Organic.”  Throw in words like “Toned,” “Diet,” and “Core” which may all seem related and easy to understand, but upon deeper inspection, you find they are not as easily defined or as similar as you initially thought.

Two other hard-to-define words are “Trainer” and “Coach.”

After spending time in Germany, I discovered the Germans don’t even have a word for “coach” in their vocabulary.  The word “trainer” is broadly used and can be interpreted a number of different ways.  This fact reminded me even though the word coach does exist in English, it is misunderstood and poorly defined.

When I asked people what the term “coach” meant to them, I was surprised to receive a bunch of negative interpretations.  In sport, “coach” can conjure up an aggressive Little League dad yelling at an umpire while only concerning himself about his own kid or getting a win.  When applied to business or life, I was told the word “coach” can represent a person that attended to a weekend course in order to get paid to help others, but can’t seem to help themselves.  And in relation to the gym, some people imagined the drill sergeant using pushups to punish a client for a poor performance.  These viewpoints troubled me about the

According to the dictionary, the word “coach” is defined as either “separate parts of a train for horse-drawn carriage,” or “a person who is responsible for managing or training a person or team.” This definition is grossly inadequate. Being called a coach is one of the most honorable and respectful titles you can be given.  Until there is a better appreciation and understanding for the term; however, there will be no reason for current coaches to change current beliefs or seek out new skills.

Since negative connotations abound and coaching is a difficult concept to define in a sentence or two, I wanted to compare it with training to help you to understand my personal definition about coaching.  As you will see, training and coaching are related, but they are not the same thing.

Here are 12 comparisons to help illustrate the potential difference between a trainer and a coach:

Coach 2


A Trainer Lights A Fire Under Someone. 

A Coach Lights A Fire Inside Of Someone.


A Trainer Affects The Hour They Are With Someone.

A Coach Affects The Hours They Are Not With Someone.


A Trainer Hopes To Get Through The Session.

The Coach Hopes To Get Through To Someone.


A Trainer Forgets The Job Is Not To Remind People About problems.

A Coach Remembers The Job Is To Solve Them.


A Trainer Stretches Your Legs.

A Coach Stretches Your Limits. 


A Trainer Counts Your Reps.

A Coach Discounts Your Excuses.


A Trainers Is Concerned With How Much Time You Put In.

A Coach Is Concerned With How Much You Put Into The Time.


A Trainer Wants You To Do Your Best.

A Coach Wants You To Do Better Than Your Best.


A Trainer Is Concerned More With How, Where And When.

A Coach Is Concerned More With Who, What And Why.


A Trainer Works For A Paycheck.

A Coach Works For A Passion.


A Trainer Develops And Delivers Your Workout.

A Coach Creates And Cultivates Your Purpose. 


Training Is Something You Do To Someone.

Coaching Is Something You Do With Someone.


The purpose of the list above was to demonstrate there is more to coaching than just “being an expert or managing someone.”  A coach has the potential to positively impact and influence the lives of others. Without an appreciation of the word, how can you fully respect the position and the responsibility?

Being called a coach carries a tremendous amount of responsibility.  So many people are looking for guidance, motivation and someone to believe in them at times when they believe in themselves the least.  Simply put, the world wants and needs more great coaches. 

There are numerous skillset that are essential for a coach to have, yet few courses that teach them – which is why I created the Coaching Greatness 1-day Live Event. 

Coaching Greatness is a 6-hour coaching workshop that will make you a better coach and elevate your career.

The most successful coaches in any industry are the ones who have the ability to transform an individual into someone more than who they were before they met them. Coaching Greatness will teach you the tactical and technical skills needed to become one of those coaches.

Great coaches aren’t born. They’re made. Join me at one of my upcoming events and get coached to greatness.


In an attempt to further illustrate what it means to be a coach, I have also created a free 30 minute video course about my coaching philosophy for you.  You can view it here:

=> Free 3 Part Coaching Video Series

I hope these videos take your concept of coaching to another level.  Regardless of what you thought of the list above, there is one thing I am sure with which you can agree: The World Needs Better Coaches!  Instead of waiting for a great coach to arrive, define the job for yourself, go out and be one.


Coaching Greatness is an online course containing over 60 videos and 10 hours of information designed to teach you the unexplored skills and mindset necessary to take your clients and students from knowledge to action.  This course contains the strategies to improve areas like your enthusiasm, empathy, leadership, goal setting, public speaking, networking and engagement in order to make you a coach more able to improve the lives of others.

Ready to Get Started? Full Course Details & Registration Info Here: