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Does anyone have an alternative name for the person receiving the coaching? I'm designing a coaching and feedback session for managers and when I refer to the other person as the coachee it sounds awful!
I am struggling to think of an alternative!
Any ideas?


Emma Baxter

15 Responses

  1. Person receiving coaching

    You could consider using the word client (as they are receiving the service).

    Sandra Beale

  2. Coaching

    As Sandra has already suggested. When coaching I always refer to clients.

    When training coaches I also encourage them to refer to clients.

    Hope this helps,


  3. Is it that easy?
    Many thanks for your comments, I did consider the word clients but in the context I will be delivering this training its quite a clinical word, ver professional yes, but will not really suit this situation. I have been raking my brains and am still to come up with a suitable word for my need but am thankful for your input.

    Jenny I’m not sure what tone your message was intended to be read in but its sometimes not always that easy.

    Thanks again


  4. Learners
    I think the word learners would be more appropriate – also because hopefully that is the intention of the coaching sessionsl

  5. Anything but ‘coachee’
    Hi Emma

    I had exactly the same dilemma a few years ago moving from coachee to individual, then learner. I then stopped to consider who these people were in relation to the managers completing the coaching training. Generally it was their own team and so it made sense to refer to the ‘coachees’ as team members. This also had the advantage of making the whole process more relevant and real to the managers.

    I hope that helps


  6. how about coaching “partner”
    Dear Emma,
    You are right to be put off by “coachee,” just as I am by “mentee” (not a word!). When speaking of an individual I use the actual, “Vice President of Sales,” or generic, “managers,” title. It depends on two key factors: 1) who is the target population for your session, 2) what is best in the culture

    best wishes,

  7. Coached staff
    What you could do is give the COACH an epithet such as “interviewing coach” or “leadership coach” so that staff being coached are identified by the coached subject. Staff then become an “interviewing” or “leadership” delegate, which also serves to indicate that this is a temporary situation and different from trainee.

    Just a thought (and it’s made me think to.

    I’m not keen on “client” either, especially for colleagues.


  8. adapt & prosper
    I prefer client to customer or coachee. I quite like learner in some situations. I think that you have to vary the collective word to suit the type of people that you are coaching such as manager, sales reps, dentists, students. Adapt and prosper as they say!

  9. It’s about a relationship
    I run a coaching company, so internally, we do tend to refer to our individual customers as ‘clients’. However, we talk about coaching being a relationship between two people, so maybe ‘partner’is a possiblity? For managers working in-house, ‘colleague’ may be another option, but I would heartily support the avoidance of both coachee and mentee.

  10. “Player”
    I prefer the term “player” — not so much as a sports reference, but because the term clearly says the player is the one responsible to get the job done.

  11. More support for “client”
    In managing a very large coaching project, we discussed this issue at length. Coachee and mentee are appalling articially constructed words. We started with “individual” then quickly agreed on “client”. If there’s confusion with the person paying the bill, you can refer to them as the “sponsor”.
    Finally, sticking to the origins of mentoring, my favourite for the person being mentored is the “protege”.

  12. Coaching – the participant
    In our executive coaching practice we use the terms:
    – participant for the person who is being coached
    – client for the organisation which is paying the bill – or the sponsoring individual


  13. Their name?
    call the person being coached by their name. They are receiving coaching not having it done to them. names also build rapport and illustrate the people orientated nature of coaching.

    Use terms that build rapport not hamper. Depending on situation client, coachee, employee, student, learner have all been terms I have employed in training, learning and developemnt situations. The most appropriate term reflects the situation.

    Happy working togehter


  14. Names, don’t forget confidentiality
    Using names when face to face is fine. But don;t forget about the confidentiality code when reprorting. If someone wants to know about your workload you still have to refer to the ‘client’ by a generic term, not names. I thought this was what the question was about.


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