Coaching vs. Consulting: Important Differences & Similarities

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Sonya shelton

CEO & Founder

coaching vs consulting
Reading Time: 4 minutes

For any ambitious professional or enterprising business, coaching and consulting tend to be valuable tools as they are both solutions to the ever-elusive goal of success. But, these two terms are often used interchangeably, and it is important to note that they are not the same. Coaching and consulting have many differences and similarities that should be taken into account when determining which strategy is best for your business or career.

What Is Coaching?

Coaches are focused on helping people develop solutions to their challenges and elevate their leadership skills. They are viewed as a mentor and facilitator, using a wide range of techniques such as questioning, active listening, and exploring a person’s goals to better understand their pain points and obstacles to success.

To help with discovering your and your team’s passion and purpose for further self and career development, people seek out tangible guidance and support from a consultant. Coaching is all about creating a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental space where people can grow and learn by practicing accountability, goal-setting, and self-awareness.

What is Consulting?

While coaching has a more personal and one-on-one approach, consulting is a more structured and data-driven type of guidance. Consultants offer businesses or organizations their expertise, advice, and resources to help them reach a specific goal. They come with specialized knowledge and experience, so they can provide fresh insights on how to solve problems.

Coaches typically work with businesses to develop strategies, transform culture, identify and capitalize on growth opportunities, assess processes and performance, optimize efficiency, and streamline operations. Additionally, they often work with businesses to provide leadership development and skill training services.

With so many advantages of hiring a consultant, many companies are making the push to partner with them to uncover the latest trends and strategies to get the edge they need above their competitors.

Difference Between Coaching vs. Consulting

With this explanation, we are already unblurring the lines between consulting vs. coaching. Now let’s take a closer look at the key differences and similarities between these two forms of guidance.


Coaching takes on a personalized approach to help clients grow and reach their goals by engaging directly with their clients. On the other hand, consultants usually provide guidance and advice to a leadership team, board, or organization.


Consulting is a data-driven approach that focuses on objective metrics and analytics to assess performance and develop strategies. They can then use this hard data to provide recommendations to the business or make any necessary strategic adjustments.

Whereas, coaches use a more qualitative approach where they may utilize subjective assessments such as conversations and interviews to understand the person’s goals or progress.


The type of guidance provided by coaches typically centers around personal and professional leadership development. Consulting focuses more on how to scale your business with the right business strategies, identify problems, analyze performance, and develop plans of action.


Even though consultants place great emphasis on their business expertise, this definitely does not eclipse the experience that coaches bring to the table. Both coaches and consultants have a wealth of experience in their respective specialties and can also help clients understand processes, develop strategies, and unlock personal potential.


Consultants work with a strict timeline with a clear start and end date and a specific goal in mind. They can opt to work with a business or organization for a few weeks or months, depending on the scope of the project. Coaches are not bound by time constraints but can work with their clients for as long as necessary to ensure they reach their goals.


The relationship between coaches and their clients makes it easy for coaches to direct without compromising the authority of the client. Coaches can easily establish trust with their clients and also guide them to achieving their full potential. Consultants, on the other hand, have a more authoritative role where they can provide specialized direction to directly influence decisions for the business.

Similarities between Coaching vs. Consulting

Despite their differences, coaching and consulting have a few things in common. The most obvious one is that they both work towards helping businesses or individuals reach their goals. For instance, both coaches and consultants can provide guidance and insights on how to best optimize and execute a strategy based on their client’s objectives.

Coaches and consultants can also both guide how to manage resources, tackle challenges, and make the best decisions for the future of their business or personal life. Lastly, the objectives of their clients are paramount for both, as they invest tremendous amounts of energy and resources to help them unlock their success while being strong advocates of their client’s interests.

Is A Consultant Or Coach Right For You?

Coach vs. consultant, which should you hire for your next project? The decision rests on what hurdles you are trying to clear and the target you want to hit. Coaches can be beneficial if you are trying to hone your professional or personal development skills. They provide a supportive environment that fosters personal growth and leadership development.

Consultants, on the other hand, can be a great resource if your business or organization wants to tackle a complex project, transform your culture, or optimize processes. Consultants are experts in their field and can provide specialized advice to help reach a specific goal.

The level of authority you want to exercise in the partnership and the amount of time you are willing to commit should also be taken into consideration. Coaches typically counsel without infringing on the autonomy of the client. Consultants typically have a more authoritative stance and are instrumental in helping businesses reach their goals within a set, albeit relatively shorter timeline.

Grow Your Business As Fast As Your Ambitions

When it comes to consulting vs. coaching, it ultimately boils down to what type of support you need. Once you have decided on this, you can then make an informed decision on where to find the right coach or consultant for the job.

At Executive Leadership Consulting, we’re committed to helping our clients effectively accelerate their growth and reach their ambitious goals whether its through coaching or consulting. Our dynamic team has the expertise to help you navigate through the complexities of scaling a business, without feeling overwhelmed or out of your depth.

Ready to take your business or your leadership to the next level?

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