What is the difference between Coaching, Mentoring, Counseling, Training and Managing?

by William “Marty” Martin, PsyD MA MPH MS CHES

ACPE faculty member William “Marty” Martin presented a focused session on Coaching and Mentoring at the AAHPM Leadership Forum: Ascend program, September 14-16, 2014. AAHPM Ascend is a new intensive program included in the AAHPM’s comprehensive new Leadership Forum.

Palliative care/hospice leaders must be able to coach, mentor, counsel, train and manage depending upon the individual and situation. How do I know when I’m doing what? Before differentiating each one of these, all of these share the following in common: communication; interpersonal sensitivity; and relationships. The focus of a coach is to guide others by asking questions and structuring a process for that individual to achieve his/her goals. In comparison, a mentor may also guide others in achieving their goals but mentoring is less focused on performance and specific tasks. Mentoring has a broader focus than coaching. Mentoring emphasizes both the professional and personal development of the individual.

Counseling seeks to explore the underlying dynamics of individuals and their relationships. Counselors and coaches both ask questions but counselors tend not to address tasks and performance. The goal for counseling is to promote self-understanding and self-acceptance.

Training is all about the acquisition and mastery of knowledge and skills. As a trainer, you must rely upon other tools other than asking questions such as lecturing, giving feedback on assignments, and in some cases, offering evaluative feedback.

Finally, as a manager, the aim is to assure that the individual “does his/her job” or “fulfills his/her contractual duties.” In reality, if you are a physician leader, then you function as a coach, mentor, counselor, trainer and manager. You want to be sure you give a clear signal to the other individual to reduce any role confusion and role conflict.

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