Lots of people ask what is the difference between coaching and consulting, which is a great question!  Here would be the simplest way to explain it, the ancient Chinese proverb of hand a man a fish and feed him for a day vs teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.  This is why you are seeing more and more claim to be coaches, because there is huge power in teaching. 

That being said, let’s not diminish the role and power of consulting, it is absolutely needed in some cases.  A consultant comes in and tells you what is wrong and most of the time tells you how to appropriately fix it. The challenge is, did you learn why they think it is the best for you, is it the best for you?  This is where many complain about cookie cutter consulting. 

Pure coaching by contrast, guides you to pick your own destination.  The challenge here is what if you choose the wrong one and they don’t know quite enough to help you pick the right ending to the story.  A pure coach needs to know nothing about your business or industry to help you.

Probably the best solution is a blended one. Let’s say you are going through a hard time, health problem or marital problem, at that time do you really care to learn how to fish?  Likely you just want to survive.  During a time like this, having a consultant is the best solution.  Once you get back to having the ability to learn, switching back to a coach would give you longer sustainable results.

Often when people are asked if they got the lasting results they desired from consulting in the past, the answer is no.  This is likely why.  It wasn’t that the consultant was bad or didn’t know what they were doing, but if the employees in your office don’t buy into the changes, they will likely revert back to their old ways once the consultant leaves.

By contrast if your team was coached to better methods to improve your practice and most importantly due to the coaching process they buy into it, you are far more likely to get lasting results!

To understand our coaching process more, read about the psychology of change.