Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Consulting, Coaching, and Training - Oh My!

(If you're stopping by from our newsletter, scroll down to catch the rest of the article, three paragraphs down). If you're just joining us, here's my view of consulting, coaching, and training!

A lot of clients ask us what the differences are among consulting, training and coaching. Well, there’s no doubt that any definition we give here will be inconsistent with our competitors and allies. But here goes:

We think traditional consulting consists of meeting with key players within an organization regarding an issue they are facing; assessing the situation or process; and making recommendations as to how to solve the problem. Traditional coaching is very much like the role of a sports coach – except it often takes place one-on-one between the coach and a business owner. Think of the high school basketball coach spending time after practice with one team member. The great thing about coaching is that since business owners do not have “bosses,” it helps them stay accountable to action. Lastly, traditional training is that process that takes place where an instructor who is considered a subject-matter expert invites numerous people to sit through an information transfer session.

Disagreements? I thought so. But before you go, here’s my take. While I am sometimes called a consultant, I usually only take on projects where I am actively involved in the implementation. That’s the best way to maximize impact on the bottom line. I focus on the business as a whole, so while I have been referred to as a coach, even by my clients – that I am not. Coaches like Kim Greenspan and Beth Miakinin help business owners become more effective at what they do – they help hold you accountable. They help you strategize for your future. Oh, and the training piece – I think … scratch that … I know that the best way to get people to change is to help them along the way with experiential learning and a methodology for applying it to their own situation. Information transfer and/or education is great, but so much better if it drives people to action.

Tell us what you think about consulting, coaching and training!


1 comment:

Kim Greenspan said...

OK, Tamme, I bit. You're so clever, you finally got me to stop reading and start writing! Contrary to your explicit request for alternative points of view, however, I'm going to agree with you! I think your definitions are great and would add something that I often use to help my clients understand the value of working with a coach - because I find it's much easier for us to grasp what consulting or training is. Coaching teaches you to be a better fisherman. Consulting gives you the fish! Sometimes you need someone to give you the answer and implement it now. And sometimes we all need to learn how to find the answers ourselves. OK, now that I've probably further confused you.... Kim Greenspan, ACC, ICF-accredited business coach