By Tan Yue Ying | 22 September 2021

Most of us who had gone through formal education grew up with numerous teachers in our lives. Some provided us with guidance and help that have benefitted us for years down the road, while others might have only given us unpleasant memories. Regardless, we still remember (most of) them.

The act of “teaching” implies the transfer of knowledge from one person (the teacher) to another (the student). However, this is where it overlaps with coaching. 

So why do people often confuse the two? Because teaching and coaching can be very similar.

There are 3 main similarities between teaching and coaching.

  1. Both involve helping someone to gain knowledge, skills, and/or competencies. 
  2. Both start with the end (aka goals) in mind.
  3. Both involve a step-by-step process on how the goal can be achieved.

However, this is where the similarities end. We have delved deeper into the nature of the two professions to explore how we can differentiate between the two. 

  1. Teachers tend to follow a certain structure or format to impart knowledge, while coaches adapt according to the progress of the coaching session and the coachee’s status.
  2. Teachers provide answers and solutions to problems, while coaches ask more questions about the problem to discover the solution.
  3. Teachers have to put in the hard work in teaching, while in coaching, both coaches and coachees have to work hard and work together to achieve the desired results.
  4. Teaching is a one-way interaction, whereas coaching is built upon a two-way dynamic relationship between the coach and the coachee.
  5. Teaching relies heavily on the teacher, whereas coaching is all about the student.
  6. Teaching is more about educating, whereas coaching is about empowering people.
  7. The goals in teaching are curated based on a set curriculum, whereas in coaching, it is based on the needs and wants of the coachee.
  8. Communication and the expression of thoughts are key in coaching. In teaching, however, it is more about giving, listening to, and following instructions.
  9. Teachers can take on the role as a coach, but good coaches should not be using teaching technique to guide coachees.



Source: The Oriental Economist

A common issue that arises upon leaving the formal education system is that we feel lost. 

We no longer have constant guidance in our lives that we get from our teachers. 

We now have to explore and navigate by ourselves in the murky waters of the dog-eat-dog world. 

Sometimes, it feels that we are moving blindfolded. 

And because we are unable to see where we are going, we may end up heading towards a place we have never intended to go.

This is where coaches come into play.

If you are feeling lost in the sea of life, coaches can act as the compass you need to help find your way to your destination. Just that you need to walk the journey yourself.

So which of the two do you think best suit you?


Register at our HappyMeCareer platform if what you need is a coach.

Join our Happy Me community at our social media pages to learn more about coaching and how coaches can help you in ways a teacher can’t.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or position of Happy Me Career (“Company”). Further, the Company does not make any warranty as to the correctness or reliability of such content. The Company cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



Casasola, T. (2020, February 16). Teaching vs coaching. Medium. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

What’s the difference: Teacher vs. coach?: Life. The ORIENTAL ECONOMIST. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from .  

Wicklander, A. (2010, March 1). The difference between teaching and coaching. Project Idealism. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from .

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