The Comprehensive Coach Guide –
#11 Coaching vs. Consulting
When I first started my coaching journey, working as an “advisor”, I did not really understand the difference between consulting and coaching. So I can guess that the reader benefits from this short yet important distinction as well.
A consultant tells you what to do based on the experience and expertise they have. If you need help marketing your products and want to implement what serves your product in the “best” way, it might not necessarily be a discovery process you are after. Similarly when we think of a result oriented coaching process, chances are you will be sometimes told what to do and how to do it to achieve those results. Fitness and Health Coaches often create plans and routines that we follow to the t. The last example would already be a kind of mix between coaching and consulting because it is often bringing in the preferences and goals a person has.
A coach, on the other hand, helps you to find, or better said unveil your own paths and solutions that are already present but inaccessible at the time. This can be done through questioning and all kinds of processes. The importance lies within the fact that they have no agenda on their own and assist you in coming up with what serves you from your point of view.
You will get a better understanding of the way the coach/consultant is operating when you work with them a couple of times.
In a way all coaches and consultants work within a spectrum and I find it hard to believe that it is either one or the other. I know that I mostly coach yet sometimes I get a little more direct and assign homework when it feels right. I check in with my clients if this is something they agree to and are willing to do but the fact stays that I tell them what to do.
Similarly, I sometimes feel called to dispense my advice or point to an aspect my clients are dismissing or unaware of.
Go with the flow of how it feels to you and what you are currently in need of. If you feel something doesn’t resonate, say it and if you feel you need less coaching/consulting and more of the other, discuss it with your mentor.