Do you need some help but you are not sure where to turn?

Coaching versus Consulting?Understanding the Key Differences

When we look at professional development and personal growth, two options often start to appear in your social media feed; coaching and consulting. While these two approaches may seem similar on the surface, they possess fundamental differences that set them apart. Understanding these distinctions can help individuals and organisations determine which approach best suits their needs. In my blog this week, we will explore the most common differences between coaching and consulting.

Focus and Purpose

Coaching primarily revolves around the process of empowering individuals to unlock their potential, set goals, and achieve personal or professional growth. Coaches work with you to facilitate self-discovery, build awareness, and help you to find ways to enhance their skills and abilities. The focus is on personal development, self-reflection, and creating sustainable change.

On the other hand, consulting should be more task-oriented and results-driven. Consultants like myself should provide expert advice, guidance, and solutions to specific problems or challenges you might be facing. A well-respected consultant will have specialised knowledge and experience and will be able to truly understand how best to help you move forward. Consultants can deliver tangible outcomes.


Coaches typically adopt a facilitative and client-centred approach. Utilising active listening, powerful questioning, and supportive techniques to guide you through their thought processes and help you to gain clarity, explore possibilities, and generate your own solutions. Coaches act as catalysts, empowering you to take ownership of your actions and decisions.

Consultants, however, employ a more directive approach. I draw on my own expertise and industry knowledge to diagnose problems, analyse situations, and provide recommendations and solutions. We often take a more advisory role, actively guiding and implementing strategies to address specific challenges.

Relationship Dynamics

The relationship between a coach and a client feels more like a partnership and collaboration to establish a safe and trusting environment, focusing on building rapport and maintaining confidentiality. Coaches act as supportive allies, providing encouragement, accountability, and ongoing feedback. The coach-client relationship is built around building confidence in you to be able to take steps that have proved challenging so far.

The relationships I have with my client, while professional and supportive, tend to be more transactional. Many of my clients see me as an external advisor or even a problem solver. The emphasis is on delivering results within a defined timeframe. The client-consultant relationship is typically based on mutual agreement and the expectation of tangible outcomes.

Scope of the Role

Coaching engagements often take place over long periods of time, focusing on holistic development and personal growth. Coaches work with you to explore different areas of your life, identify strengths, overcome obstacles, and establish sustainable habits. Coaching relationships may be ongoing or based on a series of sessions tailored to your needs.

Consulting engagements, in contrast, are more project-based and time-limited. I am typically asked to address specific challenges, implement strategies, or improve certain aspects of your organisation. The scope of consulting engagements is often well-defined and results-oriented, with clear deliverables and milestones.

Get your business working more effectively…

Choose the most suitable approach for you

While coaching and consulting share the objective of helping you to progress and achieve desired outcomes, they differ significantly in focus, approach, relationship dynamics, and scope of the role. Coaching emphasizes personal development, self-discovery, and empowering you to find your own solutions. My approach as a consultant on the other hand, offers specialised, expert guidance, and provides direct solutions to specific problems.

Understanding how best you respond to the differing approaches can help you choose the most suitable approach to support your growth and success. As part of my approach I offer a money back guarantee on my business surgery sessions…If I can’t find a solution I will give you your money back! Find out more