Coaching VS Training

Posted on March 12th, 2013 by Grace Keohohou

In the direct selling profession, we often hear that “facts tell and stories sell.” 

Great trainers in direct selling recount stories of their success, failure, and growth.  These autobiographical vignettes make presentations enjoyable and also create a warm learning environment. 

In coaching, where the agenda is set by the client, when if ever, are these autobiographical stories appropriate?

As a coach, I am to “be the mirror,” “create the space for my client,” and “stay in their world,” so should I avoid talking about myself?  Should I hesitate before telling of something similar I went through? 


Avoid the autobiographical references.  Don’t color the water with your story even if it seems to fit.  Stay away from what you did, what you have done, how you would have done it.

Whoa!  That is hard to do when you switch from trainer to coach.  Trainers are so used to telling things that will engage their audience, it is almost second nature to find a personal story to share.

Is there ever a time to share an autobiographical reference? 

I think if it is to the client’s benefit and the story can help the client get clarity, it may be appropriate.

When do you think it is appropriate to share a personal example or story?

I welcome your comments and thoughts.

About the Author

Grace Keohohou, is the Co-Founder and President of DSWA – The Alliance. Grace’s greatest passion is supporting and encouraging people to achieve their dreams and life’s purpose. She enjoys living in Hawaii and sharing her time with family and friends.