Coaching involves a client who wants to grow either personally or professionally and a coach, a trained facilitator, who will guide the client. Generally a coach works one-on-one with a client but there are times when a group of people will work together toward a common goal.
Consulting involves services that are provided for a specific topic, generally on organizational topics. A consultant will provide an analysis and some recommendations for the improvement of a certain process such as software selection or workflow design. A consultant will work with either one individual within an organization or with a group of people within an organization.
A consultant will provide a solution for the client, such as exactly which road to take to get somewhere. The coach will ask the right questions so that the client can arrive at the destination via the road that is personally best for them. Once the destination, or goal, is reached the consultant leaves the picture while the coach remains on the scene to continue to encourage the client to fully reach their goals and dreams.
There are many more differences between a consultant and a coach. These include:
- Consulting focuses on problem solving, strategies, action plans, and accomplishing very specific goals. Coaching focuses on learning through action while using the process of self-discovery to fulfill certain goals and dreams.
- The consultant is the expert and brings the knowledge and expertise to the situation that makes the difference in the client’s failure or success. The coach guides the client in a journey of self-discovery through the use of the right questions.
- Consultants solve the client’s present day problems by providing teaching to develop knowledge and expertise. Coaches focus on the client’s biggest dreams and goals, making them come true.
- Consultants sometimes ask the client the question “why”. Coaches very seldom, if ever, ask the client “why”.
- Consulting generally focuses on the specific question or problem at hand. Coaching focuses on the client’s entire life.
- Consultants may take care of specific work for the client or provide a part of the solution. Coaches do none of the work, instead letting the client focus and take on all the action.
- Consulting is usually businesslike and professional. Coaching is creative and often has a spirit of adventure.
Depending on what a client’s specific problem is, or what their goal is, they will be able to find a viable solution by using either a coach or a consultant. More than likely if you are looking for a solution to a professional, business-like problem you will want to hire a consultant. If your problem is of a more personal nature you will likely hire a coach.
An Introduction to the Consulting Business