"I'm just not getting anything out of my coaching. I signed up to work on my business. I need to know what to do and how I should be marketing my product. My coach just isn't telling me how to do that."
What is coaching? According to the International Coach Federation, it is "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."
A consultant is an expert in a particular area who is called in for specific advice on a situation. The consultant is there to analyze and understand a problem and present solutions. The biggest difference between coaching and consulting is that a coach will ask questions and help you uncover your own answers. A consultant will tell you what to do.
Let's say you want to learn how to ride a bicycle, so you hire a consultant. The consultant will get on and ride the bike for a while. She will analyze how it works, rides, what to do, etc., and then write you a "how to" manual. A coach, on the other hand, will have you get on the bicycle yourself, and walk alongside you. She will help guide you through the process until you feel confident enough to ride on your own. A coach helps you explore possibilities. A coach is your sounding board who helps provide you with the right questions to come up with your own solutions. She helps you to understand your own potential.
A good coach is a good listener. She will guide a client to see solutions by ASKING, not TELLING. A consultant will focus on the problem. A coach will focus on the client, motivating them to come up with their own solutions and empowering them to move forward. Coaches understand that this is what produces long-term, lasting change. Consulting offers short term solutions to a specific problem.
Coaches and consultants both have their place, and I frequently have clients who are working with consultants as they are coaching with me. If you are looking for someone to tell you what to do about a particular problem or situation, you want a consultant. If you are looking to grow as a leader, to be more confident in your ability to discover solutions for yourself, to be a master at managing your emotional state, and you are ready to invest in yourself and do the work, you want a coach.
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Board certified executive coach, mentor and life strategist.
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
--Norman Vincent Peale