In our earlier post, CPR maintained that the terms coaching and consulting are blurred. Therefore, most leaders use them interchangeably. Like the terms manager and leader, consultant and coach may have similar functions but are distinct. In CPR's level-up series, we asked whether you need a business consultant or a business coach for 2024. Today, CPR's proposition is simple- a business leader ready to level up for 2024 may need both a business consultant and a leadership coach, not a business coach.
First, CPR assumes that consultation assesses the business, while coaching assesses the leader. By qualifying the terms and how they relate to their respective roles, though with similar functions, a business consultant and a leadership coach should be sought only if the leader is serious about advancement. The terms and how they relate to their respective roles: knowing when to employ the services of a professional leadership coach or a business consultant can be crucial for the success of your business.
While some experts hang the differences between coaching and consulting to who has the power, once again, CPR disagrees with the 20th-century mindset. The one that holds the purse strings, i.e., the client, has the key to switch on or off and thus has the power. The leader with the budget decides when to recruit and what consultant or coach to recruit based on the budget. In addition, if you are hired to work with a client, you are the expert. The main difference is how information is processed, reported, and disseminated.
What is a consultant?
A business consultant is an outside expert hired by the organization's leader or designee to evaluate and advise the executive on a specific problem or situation. Consultants work as independent contractors on schedule, not necessarily based on your work hours. Consultants use their business experiences and an analysis of your business to provide guidance and recommendations to overcome the problem.
According to Indeed (2023) article, a business should consider a business consultant providing:
It would be best if you made a significant decision.
You want a fresh perspective on your business.
You’re facing a significant problem or roadblock that’s hurting your profits.
You’re unfamiliar with a particular business area and want expert training.
You want to improve processes.
You have unfinished projects or have trouble following through with projects.
It would be best if you had a particular expert but didn’t have the budget for a full-time employee.
Your company culture is off, your employees are unproductive,
You have other widespread situations that don’t match how you envision your company.
CPR adds the following:
You are new to business and don't have the business skill set.
You desire to advance or level up.
You are having challenges with meeting your goals.
You don't have a business plan.
Your team is underperforming.
You are operating at a loss for 3-4 consecutive years.
You are considering closing shop after five years in business.
You are considering consolidating, selling, or forming a partnership.
The bottom line is that there are myriad reasons why you should hire a consultant. Providing your goal is to keep the doors open, then a business consultant is a prudent choice. If you are lacking leadership, then a Leadership coach is your anecdote. If you are ready to invest in yourself and your organization, a business consultant and a leadership coach can assist.