In short, BOTH.
Coaches and Teachers are an integral part of developing ones skill set, achieving performance breakthrough, and understanding style and genre.
A teacher builds your toolkit.
A coach picks the right tools for the job.
You can’t hammer in a nail with a screwdriver.
Well, you can, but it’s not going to be pretty, it will take way longer than it should, and you’ll eventually break the screwdriver.
By learning how to use your instrument (tone, resonance, breathing, diction, phrasing, dynamics, alignment, anatomy, etc.), voice technicians/teachers equip you with many different tools. What’s more, there are variations on each tool. Hammers are, let’s say, dynamics, for example. Forte or piano? Or fortissimo? Or pianissimo? Shall we swell, or decrescendo?
This is where a coach comes in. They help us look through those tools, even each specific hammer, and decide which one would be the perfect one for the job. You don’t need a sledgehammer to hang a small photo frame. A tack hammer isn’t enough to break down a wall.
By knowing the difference, you can give yourself the favor of knowing how to find the right person for where you are in your career.
Young people, parents of young people, or those starting out, will need to start with a vocal technician, or pedagogue.
Those of you who have been with a teacher for a while, and need to start getting your auditions lined up, would be best served by a coach.
Or you could be like me, and always have both on hand.