Advisor. Coach. Consultant. Are There Really Differences?

Succinctly. Yes. It’s important to recognize and effectively engage the right services for your business needs. Advisor, coach, and consultant are often used interchangeably, especially advisor and consultant. With whom you engage really depends on your needs. Assessing for your business is the first step.

How does an advisor differ from a consultant? From a coach?

Advisor – Advisors view the relationship long-term helping you deal with ongoing challenges. As active strategists, they leverage resources including technology to help vertically align company goals, processes, and business units. Through a collaborative approach, advisors assist clients with process improvements and accountability. Using various perspectives and lenses, advisors serve as guides. With breadth, they have a unique perspective understanding the big picture, 30,000-foot view. Advisors also have deep content area expertise.

Coach – Whereas advising and consulting are focused more on the business, coaching emphasizes you as a business professional. Coaches help draw out higher-levels of performance from you as the professional. Great coaches ask great questions. You do most of the talking.

Consultant – A consultant is a professional who consults or provides professional services to another. Generally, the relationship is short-term in nature. The focus is typically on a specific business function or task (i.e., information technology, human resources). Consultants have deep knowledge in a specific area.

What should you look for in advisory or coaching services?

Leveraging advisory services, you should identify experts with a proven track record. Professionals with a “T” or “X” shaped skills and experience. These individuals have developed both specialist expertise with the ability to connect dots and people through cross-functional leadership and teams. Their unique perspective can help you identify early warning signs and help guide you to optimal business results.