Sometimes you only need coaching; other times you’re better served by investing in consulting services.
Your business and personal growth move forward faster when you invest in getting the right kind of help when you need it. There will be times when you don’t know what to do next and times when you do know but just aren’t doing it.
With some situations, coaching may be all that is required to move you forward when you are scared or reach a plateau. For others, the better use of your money might be purchasing professional consulting advice. Either way, it’s important to understand the difference between these two services to ensure you are investing in the support you actually need.
When clients hire consultants and coaches, it’s usually because they need specific expertise that, by reputation, these professionals have to offer. What is most important to understand regarding the distinction between these two roles is the conversation you have with a consultant is very different from the conversation you have with a coach, even when the subject of the conversation is the same.
Personal potential vs profit potential
In general, a coach provides support that helps you realize personal potential. Coaches help you stay motivated and provide accountability as you work on achieving your goals. They can help you understand yourself and perform better by putting you in touch with your internal wisdom as you identify and break through any mental obstacles holding you back.
A consultant provides specific technical expertise and support to help you and your business realize profit potential. Consultants are highly skilled at knowing how to best apply what they know to your unique situation and they help you further your business knowledge and acquire new professional skills and core competencies. They work with you to define objectives and analyse your competitive environment and challenges so you can make better decisions and manage your business more effectively to a specific end. They help you understand your options and perform better by putting you in touch with external wisdom and sharing best management practices.
Whether you are working with a coach or a consultant, together you’ll review your objectives, resources and constraints, and define specific goals. From there you’ll be creating detailed action and accountability plans and implementing them. The purpose of all this work is to help you have an opportunity to experience business results different from what you are achieving on your own.
To be a champion or hire one
Both consultants and coaches must be highly skilled in their ability to influence others. As a coach, the scope of influence is usually limited to the client, although occasionally they’ll bring their business partner or significant other to coaching sessions as well.
As a consultant, the scope of influence needed may be limited to one person, such as the business owner, or it may extend to a specific group, such as the business owner’s partners, work teams, or key stakeholders, or even to an entire company or organization such as when a business owner wants to do something that has an impact on everyone they touch with their business. Of course, how the consultant works with people in each of these situations is very different. For this reason you’d want to hire a consultant capable of communicating effectively with many different types of people.
A coach helps you become a champion. Whereas a consultant is your champion and can serve you either as an advisor (which is the most common form of professional service) or as a collaborator who shares the responsibility of ensuring you’re working on the right things, at the right time, and in the right way to best meet personal and business objectives.
There are professionals, like myself, who can serve you in both capacities and who are capable of moving seamlessly, effortlessly and comfortably between the roles of coach and consultant. All you experience as the client is the positive result of working with the person you’ve hired and the enhanced self-esteem that comes with your higher levels of achievement that result from your investment. So, what can I help you with today?