Coaching and Consulting: The New Paradigm

Coaching and Consulting: The New Paradigm

Quite often I run into business owners who know they are in need of assistance but are confused whether they need a coach or a consultant. Often they are not sure what the difference is between the two or they don’t know which one would be appropriate for their situation.

The difference between consulting and coaching can appear subtle, but there are distinct differences and both approaches are valuable.

Let’s define them:

A Coach guides you in discovering and developing your inherent strengths, skills, and capabilities. Their focus is then on helping you gain self-awareness so that you can be your best self by leveraging your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses.

Coaches focus on mindset and they assist you in using your own skills to create your own solutions. They assess what may be holding you back and insist on allowing you to find the way. This approach is broad and general and can greatly help business owners break through barriers that are limiting their business success.

A Business Coach employs many of the same coaching approaches around mindset, but also acts as a business mentor. They focus learning around business tactics and strategies that will grow the business and deliver results. The approach is usually long-term and broad-based.  The focus is on the entire business and helping the owner/leader create the foundation for sustainable business growth. A business coach may work with the entire management team and use resources in the business to drive implementation. A good business coach should have both a coaching background and strong business experience.

A Business Consultant, on the other hand, acts as an expert advisor that directly assists you in improving your business usually in their area of expertise. They provide you with a body of knowledge and specialized advice, helping to develop a plan of action. Their approach is usually short-term and more project-focused.

Consultants identify solutions, help you determine implementation possibilities, and assist in finding the best way to fast-track the plan for success. A good consultant should have a strong background and experience in their area of expertise and should deliver results that are impactful to the business in their focus area.

The Fine Line

A great business coach guides you in seeing yourself more clearly and helps you understand what might be holding you back regarding your business success. They help you develop a broad-based plan to build a strong foundation for your growth. They should assist you in identifying the resources needed, both internally and externally, so the business can sustain success once the coach is gone.

A great consultant brings a strong body of knowledge and expertise in a certain specialized area, and is usually involved in writing the plan and then in the delivery of the end product…either delivering it themselves or managing a team to deliver.

The New Paradigm

What I have found in working with clients is that the coaching/consulting hybrid approach can be the most impactful in delivering business results. Mindset is often a major barrier in the success of the business so it can’t be ignored. And too much self-discovery around the right approaches the business needs to implement can actually slow progress. So combining some self-discovery and self-awareness along with the direct consultant approach (e.g. defining what needs to be done, helping develop a step-by-step plan, and then coaching the implementation of that plan) is really the best of both worlds.

I love the old Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I do both. If you are starving, I will give you the fish (consulting), but, more often than not, I am teaching you to fish (coaching) so you won’t need me forever.

In my paradigm as both a coach and a consultant, I choose the most appropriate approach for each situation. At times, I am your coach, and at other times, your consultant; but I am always focused on getting the results you want.  Check out our web-site for more specifics:

Strengthen your business. Produce the results you want.