What IS the difference, for example, between Coaching and Consulting?
The terms get confused a lot. In fact, I even see Coaching confused for Consulting BY the service providers themselves but there are some key differences that may help you in your career or business!
The focus for a coach is to get you to improve yourself, but you have to do the work. A coach will motivate you to grow as a person. Coaching is also a form of consulting (another reason the terms get confused). But the coach stays with the client to help implement the new skills, changes, and goals to hold the client accountable. It is the Relationship that is the foundation of coaching. The coach and client intentionally develop a relationship, which is characterized by a mutual appreciation, respect, and shared commitment to the client’s results.
A consultant on the other hand helps you improve too, but he or she is doing work that you don’t want to do. A consultant is helping your company grow in areas you don’t have time to deal with, but you’re not necessarily growing as a person because someone else is doing the work. In a sense, it is “the contract” that is the foundation of consulting. The consultant provides tangible results by completing projects, creating content, setting up specific systems, etc. all for an agreed upon rate. The exchange of value is money for work performed by the Consultant.
Growth is the common factor here, but the difference lies in where that growth is happening.
Sports analogies are always great, so let’s look at this in terms of the sports world.
Sports players have coaches. The coaches work hard to train, motivate and improve the players. This happens through setting up practices, preparing tapes to watch, and creating work outs. Even though the coach, is organizing everything, the players physically have to work out, and they are personally growing.
Coaches, and upper level management on the other hand, often hire consultants to come in and structure the sports franchise, recruit players and ensure the finances are in place. The consultant is doing all the work here. The organization as a whole is still growing through getting a better team, having a stronger financial background, and overall being more buttoned up. Notice though, that the focus of growth here is for the organization as a whole rather than individuals…even though the individuals may grow with the organization, the target for growth is the organization.
When you think about this in terms of your business and how to decide if you need to hire a Coach, Consultant or sometimes, even both, figure out your long term goals. If you want to personally keep doing specific tasks, and get better at them, but need accountability, a Coach may be right for you. If you know there are tasks that need to get done, but you just don’t want to deal with them, a Consultant may be the better option.
Next time you hear someone call themselves either a Coach or Consultant, find out the services they offer and see if their offerings truly match up to either term. You can also check out my style of coaching, and learn what I offer to clients by signing up for 2 free coaching sessions HERE.
Meanwhile, thanks for reading another edition of Mind the Gap!
During my visit to London for the 2012 Summer Games I got inspired for a blog series. In the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” is the constant warning to “see and beware” of the space between the platform and the train door…literally a matter of life and death! Boarding my blog, however, is a 2-minute focus on the “valuable difference” between words or concepts that otherwise used interchangeably from appearing similar.