Coaching is just one way, albeit a very important way, of helping people to learn. For the past few years I have been learning upholstery. I have been instructed, taught, demonstrated to, lectured at and shown how to execute various techniques, but not once have I been coached. That led me to reflect on the application of coaching techniques to adult learners of new skills; would I have learned faster with more coaching and less ‘telling’? Have I become a more dependent learner as a consequence of learning by instruction? Or am I not yet at a stage of sufficient competence to benefit from coaching? I am now applying what I have learned about the experience of being taught in my coaching practice. It now seems to me that there is little point in coaching someone who has insufficient knowledge to benefit from such a reflective learning strategy.