Training & Mentoring – a comparison

I have been working as a trainer and coach for many years and have accompanied many Scrum Masters, Product Owners and managers on their journey with coaching and mentoring. Many of them were already certified and the mentoring helped them to transfer what they had learned into their day-to-day work, because the training alone did not help them to master the challenges of everyday life.
Due to the many requests, I have developed the Movement program in recent years, a structured coaching & mentoring program for small groups, which is designed to help build skills and establish a mentoring culture in companies.
Over the years, I have worked intensively on the topic of learning and development and today I would like to discuss the differences between training and mentoring.

Training and mentoring are two key approaches to learning and personal development that differ significantly in terms of methodology, focus and outcome.


Training is a structured and formal method of imparting knowledge. One study found that 85% of employees in companies with more than 50 employees take part in formal training programs. This shows that training is widespread and an important part of professional development (Devlinpeck). However, 43% of participants reported that they found formal training to be ineffective, indicating a significant opportunity for improvement (Delvinpeck).

Another statistic shows that 93% of employees want training that is easy to understand and relevant to their position. Many also prefer flexible training options that are available at any time (Delvinpeck). These figures highlight the desire for more adaptability and personalization in training programs.

The effectiveness of learning transfer in training programs varies considerably. A key challenge is that many participants find it difficult to put what they have learned into practice. This is often because they are too busy after the training or lack the necessary support and motivation to apply new skills. Studies show that only around 10% of what is learned from training is actually applied in everyday working life. This is often due to a lack of integration of learning transfer activities (CIPD)​​ (Emerald Insight)​.


Mentoring programs, on the other hand, offer a more personal and long-term form of support. Statistics show that 87% of participants in mentoring programs feel empowered by their mentoring relationships. In addition, 89% of mentees feel recognized for their contributions, compared to 75% of employees without a mentor (MentoringComplete).

Mentoring programs have also been shown to have a positive impact on career development. They increase minority representation in management from 9% to 24% and improve promotion and retention rates for minorities and women by 15% to 38% compared to non-mentored colleagues (MentorLoop). Employees with a mentor are also less likely to leave their job (25%) compared to those without a mentor (40%) (MentoringComplete).

Mentoring shows greater effectiveness in transferring learning, especially because of the individualized and ongoing support it provides. Statistics show that mentoring programs increase minority representation in management from 9% to 24% and increase promotion and retention rates for minorities and women by 15% to 38% (Mentorloop) (Guider AI).

Training & Mentoring - a Comparison

Training courses offer the advantage of efficiently teaching specific skills and are often completed with certificates documenting learning progress. However, they are often inflexible, not very personalized and can be expensive, especially if they are organized externally (Devlinpeck).

Mentoring, on the other hand, is highly individualized and promotes long-term personal and professional development through continuous support and feedback. However, it can be difficult to find suitable mentors and the effectiveness depends heavily on the quality of the mentor-mentee relationship. In addition, mentoring requires more time and commitment from both sides (MentoringComplete).


People’s needs are different. Some prefer short, intensive units, others prefer sustained integration of what they have learned.
My experience shows that a combination of both approaches can significantly increase the effectiveness of learning and transfer into everyday life – providing both formal knowledge transfer and individual, ongoing support. This would leverage both the short-term effectiveness of training and the lasting benefits of mentoring.

You might also like...