The Difference Between a Coach and a Consultant
Call me old school but I think we live in a day of made up job titles.
Don’t believe me? Check out these absurd titles that Bachelor Nation participants have used (you’re welcome).
On a more serious note, with so many people adopting ambiguous titles, it’s confusing who you should hire when you need to make changes in your business.
Some people calling themselves coaches and others, consultants.
Recently I found myself in quite the debacle. I invested $7,000 in a coaching program to gain clarity and build offers that supported my goals after pivoting in business.
It started slow, but I rationalized that was normal. As the months rolled on I finally had to admit that I hired the wrong person. While she was amazingly successful, the program itself focused on mindset and not personalized feedback and action planning that I wanted and needed.
What I learned from this experience is that before you invest, you should deeply investigate which option is best for you based on what you’re looking to get out of the experience. Understanding the differences between business coaches and consultants is the first place to start.
When you hire a coach, you’re doing the work.
Coaches are meant to guide you to uncover answers you weren’t seeing on your own. They challenge you to address fears and pinpoint what might be holding you back.
They’ll help you explore possibilities, provide guidance, and develop a plan of action. Mindset work and overcoming obstacles you can’t see on you own is a huge benefit to coaching when you’re stuck.
Many coaching programs are several months to a year in length, as accountability is a cornerstone of this type of engagement.
When you hire a consultant, they’re doing the work.
Consultants select solutions based on their experience and subject matter expertise. And through consultation and partnership, they make the changes that are right for your business.
These professionals proscribe solutions and are often heard saying, “If you want XYZ result, here’s what will get you there.”
Consultant engagements vary from short-term, goal-oriented projects to monthly retainer roles like Acting Marketing Director.
EXAMPLES OF EACH
Many businesses specialize in coaching or consulting. Here are a few situations you might find yourself in as a business owner and what type of hire would fill your needs.
Scenario 1: You want to develop a new program.
COACH: A business coach will help you figure out how to structure your program and price it.
CONSULTANT: A copywriter will translate this vision to sales copy.
Scenario 2: You want to reach more of your ideal clients.
COACH: A marketing coach will help you figure out what channels feel most comfortable for you (and are therefore most sustainable) and how to use those to your advantage.
CONSULTANT: A social media strategist will find keywords that connect with your audience and create captions that attract.
Scenario 3: You want to rebrand.
COACH: A branding coach will help you understand your niche.
CONSULTANT: A web designer will translate your vision to your site.
You’ll probably need to hire both at some point in your career. But it’s important to recognize who can help you most as you grow and change your business.
Have you hired a coach or a consultant? What did you feel like was the greatest value of doing so?