Which way to go? Distinction between Coaching and Consulting

You may wonder if the distinction between Coaching and Consulting is important for you or not. Some people say that you don't need to care about any difference between them.

But in case you engage with Coaching or Consulting because you see the necessity, than it makes sense to know.

Even if the distinction between Coaching and Consulting might be vague sometimes, it is still there. First of all, let's see how each is defined.

Definition of Coaching

Here are some definitions of Coaching:

  • Wikipedia provides this definition: "Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance."
  • Psychology Today is defining Coaching this way: "Psychological coaching focuses on the positive aspects of the human condition, much like positive counseling..."
  • Here is my own definition: "Helping someone to find their own answers to their actual issue."

These are just a few definitions of Coaching, there might be even more as there is no standard for defining Coaching. At least from my point of view. To summarize it, Coaching is an approach which helps a person to get insights to solve their issues/problems.

Thus the person coached is enabled to see or create the solution themselves. The Coach just provides the assistance, but not any kind of advice.

Definition of Consulting

Now let's take a look to the definition of Consulting:

  • At first let's take a look to Wikipedia again. If you search for Consulting you end up with Consultant, which is fine for us here too. Though Consultant is defined as "A consultant (from Latin: consultare "to deliberate") is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area such as security, management, education, accountancy, ..."
  • Dictionary.com has the following definition: "employed or involved in giving professional advice to the public or to those practicing the profession."
  • And my definition of Consulting: "Providing someone with advice in a specific field of expertise."

Some people also refer to coaching, when it they talk about teaching how to do something. Many Coaches probably tell that to be Consulting too. That's because it is still Expertise driven.

And how does that help you now?

Well, in case you need advice about how to do something, than it is good to engage with Consulting. This implies that you need advice in a specific area of your business, such as accountancy, taxes, management to name a few.

photo of two person playing chess board

On the other hand, when you review the definitions of coaching above, you could see that coaching has to do with achieving your goals or solving a problem.

It might be that you can't narrow it down to a specific area for advice.

Also some issues may need a broader view to be solved. This includes things like improving your leadership skills, your ability to build and motivate a team and more.

Coaching allows you to have a holistic view of your issue. Here holistic means a full picture about everything that might influence the issue.

This sounds complicated but it doesn't necessarily is. It depends on the Coaching Model or Method a Coach is using to help you to get the insights you are looking for.

BTW, on the homepage you already got in touch with the Coaching Model -Interrelations- which I created. The -Interrelations- Coaching Model consists of 7 business related areas to help finding your own answers.


persons playing paper, rock, and scissors

Before engaging with Coaching or Consulting ask yourself what you need. Is it advice or expert know-how on a specific topic or business area, than go for Consulting.

If you need to bring a team together or improve your leadership skills than go for Coaching.

To set yourself up for Coaching or Consulting you could read my Blog post "7 Questions you need to ask before you engage with Executive Coaching". The article is available as download at the bottom of the respective page as well. You could easily use the 7 questions for a Consulting Assessment as well.


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