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What is the difference between presenting, coaching and facilitating?

There are three main ways to be in front of a group: presenting, coaching, and facilitating. There’s certainly an overlap in skill sets, such as dynamic delivery skills, good stage presence, a high level of likability, the ability to “read” the audience. But while they are similar abilities, they are not interchangeable. There is value in exploring the differences between the three processes, so that the trainer, presenter or facilitator knows how to adapt to different situations.

Presentation: The objective is to present the information in a dynamic and interesting way.

Training: The objective is to increase the level of knowledge or skill of the participants through an attractive presentation.

facilitating: The objective is to manage the structure and focus of a team’s decision-making process.


Presentation: Audience can be of any size

Training: The number of participants varies, but is usually an average of 10 to 30

facilitating: Team size is usually smaller, usually less than ten


Presentation: The audience is there to receive information.

Training: Participants are there to learn

facilitating: Participants are team members who have a common goal


Presentation: Speech outline creates a logical flow of presentation

Training: The course outline creates the learning structure

facilitating: The agenda structures the flow of the meeting


Presentation: The presenter is an information provider.

Training: The coach is a catalyst for learning

facilitating: The facilitator manages the dynamics of the information generated by the group


Presentation– The presenter mostly answers instead of asking questions

Training: The trainer asks questions to stimulate and assess learning

facilitating: The facilitator uses questions to encourage individual participation


Presentation: Images are used to present or clarify information.

Training: Visual aids are used to illustrate learning points

facilitating: The flipchart is used to record the ideas and contributions of the group.


Presentation: The presenter communicates largely in a presenter-to-audience manner

Training: The trainer uses participation so that participants can learn from each other and maintain interest

facilitating: The facilitator manages the communication process that takes place between team members.

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