There is quite a selection of titles for people offering services to businesses such as: adviser, consultant, mentor, coach. In the last two decades in organizations business coaching has become increasingly popular to assist executives, managers, and employees in their personal and professional growth. How and what makes us decide that in particular case if we need a business consultant or a business coach?
As both, coaching and consulting process, are built on trust and confidentiality to differentiate them one can pose the following questions:
- Do they question and listen?
- Do they spend most of the time talking?
- Do they offer alternatives and let you make the choice?
- Do they tell you what to do?
- Do they think they know all of the answers?
- Do they appear to ask the right questions?
- Do you learn from them?
- Do you end up wiser or not?
The above questions help, but to determine which business service you actually need, more description is needed.
Consulting services tend to address the organizational problem that involves multitude of employees and various departments. A business consultant brings a particular expertise to perform a particular task based on analysis, research and interaction. Focus is on the key issues and the development of tactical and strategic goals for (mostly) quick results. In principle, a consultant is a person who gives you an overview of your business, and helps to resolve issues of a specialized nature. A consultant is someone you hire to work for you and to ask you many questions. With answers a consultant composes a summary, a document or presentation. Basically, a consultant tells you what you should have already known! The summary helps you to push through the ideas that you were unable or even afraid to do. A business consultant charges an hourly rate.
A business coachis someone who teaches the things you do not know but he has not come to solve your problems! Coaching is usually delivered one-on-one. It is a model, a set of skills and a technique as well as a relationship and communication approach. It’s about actively listening, asking powerful questions – an open-ended questions (vs. a yes-no-questions) – to stimulate clarity and to receive new insights, encouraging awareness and curiosity, helping to obtain new perspectives and options, triggering to find own solutions and answers, supporting on the path of a change. Coach does not offer and repack the numbers you provided but rather demonstrate them in such a way that you see them in a new perspective. A business coach doesn’t do, the work is done by the client. A coach often charges a program fee instead of hourly rate.
In leadership process coaching is one of the most powerful communication instruments.