Among the participants that attend my trainings, I see a range of leadership roles. Though some clearly identify themselves as coaches for example, at times during group sessions or masterclasses they offer, they are actually wearing a trainer hat.

If you identify yourself as a trainer in the first place, during a training you are often also the facilitator and specific moments, support an individual better in your role as a coach.

The role of a trainer, facilitator, coach, consultant and mentor, are at times very close or similar. At other times there is such clear distinction, there is no way we would see ourselves wearing the hat of any of the other roles mentioned.

The reason why it is useful to understand the different purposes and focus of these roles, is that it helps you see which skills you employ to be the best possible partner to your participant, coachee, client or mentee. And that, provides you clues about what to ask and receive feedback from them. Subsequently their feedback is valuable information for you to celebrate or identify your learning edge. Which skills do you want to develop knowing that?

I captured these five roles on one page to create an overview and briefly write down the purpose and focus of each of them. My intention is to help you identify which hats you wear. You might take it a step further and reflect on when you step into these different leadership roles.

By no means I want to say this overview is a fixed truth, due to viewpoints and experience we might redefine some content if we were to converse about it. Neither is it a complete overview but an excerpt of a much larger overview I created.

The 5 hats that define your leadership roles

Which hat do you wear the most?
Which others do you wear as well?


The Trainer

PURPOSE: Helps develop skills that shift behaviour and results.

FOCUS: Follows the energy of the participants while making sure the content is delivered.


The Facilitator

PURPOSE: Helps others collaborate on a subject matter.

FOCUS: Follows the energy of the group without loosing the purpose and outcomes out of sight.


The Coach

PURPOSE: Helps others reach desired outcomes through shifting behaviour or performance.


FOCUS: Follows the energy of the coachee and uses what is alive in them to bring out potential.


The Mentor

PURPOSE: Helps others to develop themselves all-round.

FOCUS: Follows the energy of the mentee while role modeling, guiding, motivating, identifying resources and goal setting.


The Consultant

PURPOSE: Advises others how to do things with concrete strategies to implement and attain acceleration.

FOCUS: Follows the energy of the client to understand issues and offers strategies that tackle the issue and lead to results.

Have you recognized your trainer role?

In that case, a proposition I offer momentarily, might have your interest and bring some relief in the hectic of your work as a trainer.

My name is Mireille van Bremen and I work internationally as a visual catalyst. Everything I do as a graphic recorder, visual mediator, facilitator, visual skills trainer and coach, stems from an intention to invigorate creativity and empathy in order to catalyse potential, prevent conflict, navigate change and stimulate inclusion.

After a career as a design department leader I nowadays work internationally as a visual catalyst to increase the impact of presentations, workshops, strategic meetings and conferences by providing visual translation and by teaching others how to communicate and facilitate visually.

The training programs I design and offer as live as in the online Visual Skills Training academy I founded, help trainers, facilitators, coaches, educators and leaders from all over the world to become resourceful and self-reliant in their communication so they can facilitate impactful dialogues.

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