Coaching involves motivating and developing a person’s skill set in a sport or team setting. Teaching is based on developing minds in a structured classroom with a focus on academics. The key difference is the approach. Coaches focus on individualized attention to address specific strengths and weaknesses, whereas teachers focus more on general skills applicable to most students.
A coach trains the mind and body of an athlete or student through motivation, while a teacher instructs and explores texts, labs and experiments in a controlled setting. In addition, coaching is measured by wins and losses and puts a strong emphasis on group work, competition and beating the opponent. Teaching is measured by individual success on standardized tests and classroom assignments, and the focus on competition is less prominent. A coach’s or teacher’s relationship with students may also differ. For example, students often choose to participate in a sport they enjoy and spend a significant amount of time with the team and coach, thus creating more of a personal bond between the two. In the classroom, teachers must divide their time between many students and have less exposure to the students to establish a close bond or relationship of mutual respect when teaching one class at a time to a different group of students each hour.