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Home » Groups » Welcome and General » blogs » Krissi Paterson » Is it Teaching or Coaching (and does it really matter?)
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Is it Teaching or Coaching (and does it really matter?)

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Coming from a coaching background, 10 years ago in my teacher training I was repeatedly told that "teaching isn’t coaching"… and they were right – it did feel different but I couldn’t quite figure out why. Maybe it had something to do with the instruction to follow a set curriculum regardless of student learning: lesson 1: dribbling; lesson 2: passing; etc… (yes, I was actually told this and was surrounded by this as standard practice in that setting...).

But my lines between teaching and coaching have got a bit blurry lately.  I’m unsure whether my teaching background is informing my coaching or my coaching informing my teaching.  Or, more likely, both informing each other.

I have QTS and a PGCE in FE, but I’m finding now my default approach to classroom teaching is to consider “how would I approach this as a coach…” which seems especially appropriate when I’m working with Sport Coaching students.  

But ultimately, does it really matter what label we give to what we do?  

I recently listened to a Primary Care Trust discuss the changes they were implementing to patient care - finding out how patients want to access advice and care; provide a range of solutions based on differing patient wants and needs; frequent, varied assessment of the effectiveness of these and the patient experience to inform future practice.  Sounds a lot like coaching...

Teaching, coaching, whatever you want to label it, I’m of the opinion its basically about coaching people – not teaching a subject, or coaching a sport, but people.  And that’s a pretty good place to start: who are you coaching, what’s their ‘why’ and how can you connect with it?  And from there, what are you coaching and how are you coaching it – and each answer informing and being informed by the other.

In other words… constructively aligning your coaching:

A Framework for Coach Decision Making (Abraham, Muir & Morgan, 2010)

If we’re teaching (coaching?!) people to be sports coaches, then to me the most important part in my delivery is to ensure I’m modelling what I would hope to see on the coaching pitch: someone who is motivated to be there, enthusiastic and cares about the players. If you can get those things right, then surely it’s a pretty good place to start:

So let's not bother with the pedantics of whether its coaching or teaching, and focus on what's really important - the players.

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Comments (5)

   
andrewb62
Well said - coach (or teach) the person, not the skill.

How about this for a definition of the difference between teaching and coaching: the act of teaching has a defined endpoint – remember a fact, pass an exam – whereas coaching is more open-ended and strives to show the way to the next improvement.

Or – teaching aims to put something (facts, skills) into the student; coaching aims to draw somethiing out.

With apologies to all of the excellent teachers who are, by these definitions, top class coaches (as well as top class teachers) after all…
29/10/15
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henrydorling
Absolutely agree its about coaching the person first. We refer to the concept of 'social coaching' with our Uni students. Understand the needs of the groups/community/population you are working with and you can connect and engage with them at a much deeper level and then you are more likely to make a difference in a number of areas eg improved confidence and trust means that you are doing much more than just coaching to win or to improve skills.
29/10/15
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liammccarthy16
Another wonderful blog Krissi Paterson - i love this; constructive alignment something we should all live by.
09/11/15
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pippaglen
After the interview I had last week I came away really confused with should I be coaching or teaching a Pe lesson. I feel the way you coaches is much easier or coaches and pupils to relate to a
25/08/16
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pippaglen
Sorry Rob didn't Finnish what I was writing 🤔
25/08/16
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