You are having problems at work and reach out to your best friend. After talking about feeling overworked and underpaid, this is what your friend shares:

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Conversation 1:

Friend: "You should talk to your boss about your problems or you could ignore it for now until you find another job."

You: "You are right. I could do either of those."

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Conversation 2:

Friend: "What could you do to change your problems? Have you talked to your supervisor?"

You: "I haven't thought about that."

Have you noticed the difference between the conversations? Coaching involves empowering others to realize they have the solution to make things happen (Conversation 2). Advice consists of providing insight on the direction a person should go (Conversation 1). This is the basic differences between the two so let's explore both a little more.

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Coaching 101

What is coaching?

Coaching is a skill that focuses on helping the other person to learn and identify his/her own tools to address a concern.

Coaching involves the engagement of both questions and statements to empower someone to think about their ability to tackle a situation. You are most likely familiar with coaching in sports but this can happen in your personal and professional life such as in counseling services.

Can you identify the coaching aspects of this video?

Why is coaching used?

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Think about the role of a sports coach. They are on the sidelines guiding their players, but before that, they have scouted talent, created plans, and trained them. Coaches placed players in certain positions based on their skills and pushed them to develop their abilities further.

Consider: In your personal life, coaching can be useful when you want your friend to realize their potential in handling a situation (ex: ability to persuade others).


Jennifer wants to incorporate more coaching skills in her supervisory role. What could she actively work on to empower her staff?

Advice 101

What does it mean to give advice?

To give advice means to provide a recommendation or opinion. For example, a doctor or physician would provide advice regarding your health. With advice, it is up to you whether you accept it or not.

Can you identify the advice that was given in this video?

Why do we give advice?

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A doctor or physician has experience and expertise. A family member or friend may have some wisdom regarding your personal life. Inevitably, by giving advice someone is wanting to help in their own way.

Consider: Arguably, there is always someone who knows more. If you are unsure about an issue, you might not know where to go. If you talk to someone experienced or someone you trust, they can give you the next steps.

Take Action

Are you still confused about the differences between coaching and advising?

"The difference between giving advice and coaching is similar to the difference between  telling  someone the answer to a problem and  helping them discover  how they can solve a problem for themselves"

So next time someone comes up to you and brings a concern, consider this:

  • Should I tell them what I think they should do? Or...

  • Should I help them figure out the answer?


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