Do I Need Coaching or Consulting?

Posted by Digital_Zone on July 29th, 2022

Are coaches, "consultants?" Are consultants, "coaches?" Can someone do both? To deal with these questions, I look at Clifton strengths coaching and consulting as activities not labels describing professional practices. Yes, coaches can be consultants and vice versa but these are distinctly different approaches to addressing client needs using skill sets which are completely different from each other.

So what's the difference between coaching and consulting? At the chance of oversimplifying, listed here are my short answers:

Coaching is approximately exploring possibilities, looking for barriers to success, encouraging client progress, holding them accountable, providing focus, supporting their strengths, helping them overcome their fears, enabling them to boost their effectiveness, happiness, and other client-defined outcomes.

Consulting is approximately providing methodologies, data and answers to client issues.

As I see it, coaching is then evocative in nature where consulting is prescriptive. Traditional coaching engagements are client-driven. The focus is on which the client desires to address. Although these can be driven by the need or want to strengthen a skill or address a weakness, the coach's job would be to listen, reflect back and clarify what the client is saying or not saying and cause them to become make the changes they want to make. The coach becomes area of the discovery/understanding/change process.

In contrast, the consultant is usually relied upon to get, review and analyze data, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. The consultant may import a specific methodology for the client to adopt or be involved in the design of a new marketing or operational process for example. The task can address task, process or interpersonal/behavioral issues but the consultant has been relied on for an opinion about what to do where in fact the coach aims to simply help clients uncover the answers for themselves. Further, a consultant may engage a complete client organization to simply help them see what changes need to be made and just how to implement changes they agree to.

So where does training come into the mix? One-on-one Clifton strengths training can enter as a result of consulting or coaching engagements or as a stand-alone engagement. Within an organizational context, training's aim is to offer content and experience to enhance employee skills and capabilities. We certainly have to know things so that we can be of more value in our jobs, meet company expectations and grow professionally. Although they're different approaches, coaching and consulting engagements often surface the need for training which might be task-based (learning new technologies, job procedures, company policies or management approaches for example) or interpersonal-based (changing behavior, overcoming fears, dealing with conflict, etc.).

As part of my early engagement process with clients, I discuss different approaches and we agree with usually the one they desire or the one which best fits the problem and desired outcomes. They may choose to resolve their very own issues as opposed to have me inform them I what I do believe they will do. When the problem demands a mix of approaches, I create a point of telling the client which hat I'm wearing (coach, consultant, trainer).

My philosophy is to simply help my clients be successful and achieve their visions, goals and dreams. The path we take because of this comes from on-going discussion.

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: November 10th, 2020
Articles Posted: 547

More by this author