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I am looking for an intuitive one word description for somebody that is being coached, as in enjoying the services of a coach.

I am thinking of something analogous to the oft used mentee as somebody being mentored, or enjoying the services of a mentor.

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I think the counterpart of mentor used to be protege; only in very recent years have I seen mentee. –  ShreevatsaR Oct 25 '11 at 19:08

5 Answers 5

Wikipedia says coachee and client are in common use. Both are found in dictionaries. Of course, in sports the word would be player or athlete.

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Coaching implies instruction to achieve one or more goals. A simple, conventional word for someone who is being coached is learner. It doesn't imply the coached activity whether it be sport, academic subjects, life skills, business or other fields, yet it can be used in any of these contexts unambiguously.

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I've never heard "coachee" or "mentee" used in common speech. I think "trainee" and "student" are the common English terms. "Athlete" and "player" might also be appropriate, though they do not make clear that we are talking about a coach/student relationship.

If someone is running a school or trainging program for athletes, those attending are commonly called "students". Of course this doesn't distinguish between student athletes and students of other subjects. Depending on the context this may or may not be ambiguous. If you say, "Many students from Pele's Soccer Camp have gone on to positions with professional teams", it's unlikely anyone will think you meant accounting students. On the other hand, if you say, "Mr Miller taught chemistry and coached baseball at our school. His students praised him highly", it would not be at all clear whether you meant his chemistry students, his baseball students, or both.

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I think mentee is pretty mainstream now, but I agree about coachee. –  onomatomaniak Oct 25 '11 at 19:00
    
I had never heard the word "mentee" used before reading the posts here. Maybe it's common in some places or professions, but not in my circles. –  Jay Sep 20 '12 at 16:45

I might go with trainee. In many situations, trainer is a good synonym for coach. (Coachee may be in some dictionaries, but it sounds too awkward for me to want to use it.)

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Coachee is fine. It’s less common than mentee, but still common enough, and should certainly be understood.

If you want a longer-established word, then tutee would be another option, if you’re in a context where tutor would be a close enough synonym of coach.

Pupil and student are of course also options; but it sounds like you want the connection with coaching to be more explicit than these make it.

Google Ngrams surveys the options nicely:

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(Pupil, student not included since they completely dwarf the other options. Showing only from 1950, since coachee was quite common in the C19th but with a completely unrelated meaning.)

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I was surprised to find that 'coachee' is first recorded in 1866 - but as a nonce-word. –  Barrie England Oct 25 '11 at 18:58

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