Choosing Between a Coach and a Consultant

The Importance of Self Knowledge "Know Thyself" has been the subject of philosophers and poets for millennia. Its genesis may be unclear: Greek, Egyptian or Hindu, but its importance cannot be over-stated. Self-knowledge is a requirement for self-actualization. Coaching & Consulting The coaching industry has grown tremendously over the last decade. I’ve heard some say they believe it has gradually replaced small scale consulting – and that part of the reason for this phenomena is budget constraints that eliminate consulting line items but don’t impact learning and development – where coach funding usually lives. But there are real differences between these two helping professions.

When asked what was the most difficult thing, Thales replied, "To know thyself." When asked what was easiest, he replied, "To give advice."

Coaching is about asking powerful questions. Consulting is about giving advice. Why Coaching? As a coach I assist my clients in their journey of discovery. I help build self-sufficiency, not dependence.  I assist clients see more potential by opening their eyes to blind spots. As a coach I help my clients develop multiple perspectives – not focus on just one – in order to discover and capture more possibilities. There are many Consultants cleverly disguised as Coaches currently in the market place. So, the next time you are thinking about engaging a coach, take the time to reflect on what you are looking for in order to fully capture your expectations. Be clear for the benefit of all. If you are looking for an individualized guide to help, as opposed to being given "an answer", you are looking for a coach. Choosing a Coach The next challenge, then is selecting a coach. My advice here (as a Consultant) is the following: 1. Be sure that they "Know Themselves" in order to help you do the same. Are they giving advice or asking questions to help you solve a problem on your own? What are their motivations? To enable or to fix? 2. Establish a relationship of trust. The ability to establish a relationship of trust is paramount. Be sure that you connect with and trust your coach. 3. Be sure they are constantly learning. Are they continuing to increase their own skills? Are they practicing under another coach’s guidance and supervision? There are many reasons why one selects a specific coach – but beware of hiring a consultant for a coach as they will not necessarily help you bring out yourbest. So my advice is this: know yourself. And my question is this: do you know what you are really looking for?

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