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Every great athlete, high-profile business leaders and celebrities use coaches to improve everything from their health and fitness to their communication skills. They often use coaches to help them change habits, instill new techniques, and learn new options.

Whether you choose a coach or consultant the intent is the same. Finding solutions and improving results. The coach is a guide helping your discover possibilities. The consultant is expected to provide the right answers to solve the problem. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide which is the better direction to choose. Let’s explore some considerations as you decide whether a coach or consultant is best for your business.

In 2021, Indeed.com published article; Coaching vs. Consulting: Overview, Differences and Similarities where they identified what makes each discipline unique.

“Coaching requires developing the client’s abilities to solve a problem themselves using a wide range of tools, such as goal setting and accountability. Consulting involves helping the client solve their problems.”

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/coaching-vs-consulting#:~:text=Coaching%20requires%20developing%20the%20client’s,training%20or%20other%20collaborative%20exercises

Concisely, consultancy focuses on providing specific solutions for specific issues or problems in short or determined timeframes.

  • Consultants tend to be subject matter experts
  • Consultants tend to assess specific problems and then provide specific solutions
  • Consultants work at higher level with an organization
  • Consultants are project or objective focused

Coaches on the other hand, work one-on-one with clients and tend to be more long-term focused.

“The main difference between coaching and consulting is that coaching pulls out answers from the client while consulting tells the client what to do” (Forbes.com, 2018)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/06/14/key-differences-between-coaching-and-consulting-and-how-to-decide-what-your-business-needs/?sh=17d0ac833d71

  • Coaches tend to be more generalist but can have specific areas of expertise
  • Coaches tend to build relationships with clients
  • Coaches help individuals become aware of environments so they can find solutions
  • Coaches help develop specific skills, focus on accountability, and get results through goal setting

Coaching requires a more personal approach and commitment. While consultants target specific departmental talent gap, coaches work to build the talent up to meet the challenges the business face.

Coaches are focused on building abilities and skills. Consultants are focused on solving the problem.

Projects that are best for a consultancy approach have a distinct start and finish or focus duration period. Coaching is an iterative process which is fluid and can evolve and expand as the client’s needs change.

“Hire a consultant when you need an expert who can teach you a process or method. Hire a coach when you want to discover yourself.” (Forbes.com,2018) – Leanne Wong, Leanne Wong https://www.leannewong.com/

Both coaches and consultants have arsenal of tools resources and techniques to bring about desires changes and to meet objectives. Coaches and consultants are highly skilled educators and trainers and can impart knowledge in a variety of ways. Coaches and consultants both use systematic questioning to identify opportunities and are both committed to solving a client’s issues. You can employee the skills of coach and the expertise of a consultant at the same time. Just be clear on the outcomes you want to achieve.

Here are some other considerations to comparison to help you decide whether a coach or a consultant is right for your situation.

COACHES                                                                                       CONSULTANTS

Helps you answers questions                                                    Tells you what to do

Focused on clients                                                                       Focuses on the problem

Gives guidance                                                                             Gives advice

Facilitates discovery                                                                    Provides How-To-Manuals

Teaches confidence                                                                     Teaches process or method

Facilitator                                                                                       Director

Builds capacity                                                                              Solves a specific problem

Helps you find clarity and discover answers                         Focus on technical advice and information

Ask questions                                                                                Solution based inquires

Helps you explore the possibilities                                          Provides the possibilities

Works as your equal                                                                    Works as the expert

Presents guidance                                                                       Presents authority

To learn more about business coaching and to connect with a coach near you, visit actioncoach.com.