Coaching VS Consulting
Within small businesses, two terms often get thrown around interchangeably without a consistent understanding of what these terms mean. These terms are coach and consultant.
The confusion also isn’t necessarily other people's interpretation of the meaning of the words, sometimes an individual delivering the services may say they are a coach and coaching their client on a problem however what they are actually doing is mentoring the individual by giving them advice based on what they have known to be true previously.
Ultimately you may think as long as you are getting the results does it matter? I would argue it does as they all serve different purposes to you and the business.
The difference between these terms is
What is Coaching
Coaching is all about the individual, you may get group coaching however the sessions are still to develop the individual.
Most coaching happens one to one as it deals with deep exploration, using techniques such as the five whys, GROW model and the fuel model. These techniques help the individual understand their motivations and goals. Coaching takes time and focus and can become incredibly personal.
Coaching implies a non-prescriptive approach, you wouldn’t expect a coach to tell you exactly what to do and for you to follow their advice no-questions-asked.
There are two types of coaching; directive and non-directive approaches. You often get a mixture of both these techniques. It’s a good idea to get clear on which type of coach you’d prefer and make sure you’re getting what you want.
This is when the coach refrains from giving any specific advice and relies solely on their ability to draw out the solutions from you.
Directive coaching is when the coach uses their own experience to advise their client on what their next steps should be.
If a coach is solely directive this this is classed more as mentoring.
What is Consulting
Consulting draws on experience and training to find solutions to problems when you can’t see a clear way through for yourself.
Consultants can be expensive because unlike coaches you can set measurable targets for consultants that can deliver huge results in monetary terms.
Consultants rely on their in-depth knowledge of the subject and how it applies to your objectives. Their role is advisory and the advice is tailored to your business.
Their objectivity is almost as valuable as their knowledge.
Before engaging with either coaches or consultants you should have an understanding of what your needs are. If you are looking to work on your individual self over a long timeframe then coaching can become invaluable however if you are looking to grow your business quickly whether this is systemising, strategising or analysing data then look towards consulting.
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