Coaching or Consulting:  Which is right for you?

I get asked about the difference (in my terms) between Coaching and Consulting.  Often times, people are trying to understand which they might want buy.  Many folks are unclear on the Return on Investment (ROI) Model as well.  So, I am hopeful to clear this up here at least using my usage of the words.

The difference between Coaching and Consulting is who does the work?  If you are hiring me as a Coach, you are doing the work.  If you are hiring me as a Consultant, then I am doing the work.  This might be clearer as I get more expansive in my explanation.

Consulting is easier to describe so I will start with that.  I get a call and visit a prospect.  They have a specific package of work to be done.  I write a Statement of Work that describes my output, the cost and the timeframe.  The project gets approved and I perform an amount of work.  The Return on Investment is based upon the value of the project within the business.  There are things that are worth a lot more money than others and really you are defining the ROI that is possible.  If you are sure that you have a task that needs to be completed, then this is why you hire a Consultant.  Make sure you are hiring an expert in the field that you are having them work in.  Make sure that there is reasonable Project Management to ensure that the outcome is what you want.  Other than that, it is pretty straightforward.

There are a couple more variables in Consulting and that has to do with the scope of the task and changes.  I am generally hired for a task that does not have a clear path to the owner, and part of my job is to define the work that is to be performed.  On top of that, I will define the inputs I require before I can complete my task.  I find it challenging to get people to be clear on the status of the prerequisite work and that causes some scope and task creep.  I try to be clear about this, but things happen.  The better the input and the freer my path, the better the output will be.

Coaching is all about the Coachee.  The reason someone should buy Coaching is that they are not making their goals and are not sure why.  Coaching is all about diagnosing the challenges and creating new paths that the Coachee would not discover on their own.  Sometimes it is a perspective issue.  Sometimes it is a skill set.  Sometimes it is accountability.  Sometimes it is setting the right priorities.  Each person is different.  The job of the Coach is to help define the Goals and a plan to achieve the Goals.  From there, the Coach will hold the Coachee accountable for doing the work necessary to meet the Goals they have defined.  The Return on Investment is really created by whatever your Goals will allow.  When I was Coached for the first time, we over doubled our Revenue in a span of 4 years.

The question you need to ask before entertaining Coaching is: Am I interested in Change?  If you are then Coaching likely is the right solution for you.  If not, then you probably want Consulting.

Have a great day!

Jim Sackman

Focal Point Business Coaching

Business Coaching, Executive Training, Sales Training, Marketing


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