Monday, March 29, 2010

Coach versus Consultant - What's the Difference?

The term "Coach" is quite popular in this internet-based age we are living in. There are "mortgage coaches," "interior design coaches," and even "tax coaches." It seems that these days everyone is a coach. I answer questions about coaching and consulting often enough that I decided to clarify the differences.

When hiring a consultant, the business owner wants something specific done by an expert. A consultant is usually an expert in a specific area and once hired can create what you want for you. They may also implement their recommendations for you if need be. The relationship is time-specific and project-related.

Coaches can also be consultants by advising and assisting clients to make changes in their business and their life. But not all consultants are coaches.

A true coach is a trained professional, not someone borrowing the term "coach." Look for a coach who has earned a credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), an organization of 14,000 members in 80 countries. The ICF does not train coaches – it certifies training programs and awards credentials to coaches who have a specific amount of training from an ICF accredited organization, have accumulated client hours, and can demonstrate coaching experience.  A coach with an ICF credential has agreed to uphold a strict code of ethics.

Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. Vince Lombardi

You hire a coach when you want to grow personally and professionally. You may want to grow your business, but growing yourself could be what you truly need. A coach can see things you cannot see and can point out where you may need to improve your skills.

Hiring a coach is all about change. If you continue to do the same things you're doing now, you'll get the same results you had in the past. Change requires action on your part. There's no growth where there's no implementation.

When hiring a coach, you are hiring a business partner focused on your success. You learn to focus on high pay off tasks and actions that move you forward.  You learn to work ON your business weekly rather than getting caught up in the busy work of the day. You are focused on SUCCESS. You have a long term relationship with a coach that builds your character and your business.

There is absolutely a time and a place for hiring a consultant. However be aware that not all consultants are coaches. Coaching is effective because it delves into the human psyche and pulls out that which is great.  For further discussion on why coaching is effective, read Marketing, Change and Success

Business Coaching for Financial Advisors & Entrepreneurs

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