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What’s the Difference Between Consulting and Executive Coaching?

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2022 | Executive Coaching

What’s the Difference Between Consulting and Executive Coaching? Confusing consulting with executive coaching is one of the seven deadly sins of hiring an executive coach for all the wrong reasons—literally. It seems like the business realm has lumped both of these professional roles together and made it subliminally difficult to distinguish which is which.

At Arden Coaching, explaining the difference between consulting and executive coaching has become as second nature for our coaches as rattling off their go-to morning coffee orders. We get this question all the time from companies that are new to the coaching process, and when we do, we’re glad we do because we want to be sure that our potential clients find the help that they really need.

If you’re unsure whether your company needs a consultant or a coach, Arden is here to help. Read on to find out the differences between consulting and executive coaching below.

Consulting Focuses on the End Result

In Consulting, the Consultant Is the Expert

A consultant hired to assist your company is an expert who holds a high level of knowledge in a specific topic or area. This person will essentially tell your business what he or she thinks you should do within a situation that you task them with.

For example, a company may hire an IT consultant to work with their internal team. As problems arise with company software, laptop functions, etc., employees will look to the consultant for answers to their issue. The process of how the issue gets fixed isn’t all that important as long as the problem is resolved in the end.

Since consulting provides companies with a specific solution, you can think of it as buying a premade or store-bought product.

Executive Coaching Focuses on the Process

In Coaching, the Executive Is the Expert

On the flip side, executive coaching is focused on the process and developing the skills of the expert (the executive) in order to help him or her find their own solutions to the company’s issues.

Because coaches will help executives shift their current patterns of thinking so they can better evaluate a scenario and find answers themselves, coaching is more of an investment in the talent that your company already has access to.

In the end, it’s up to the executive to implement what they’ve learned in order to advance the organization’s initiatives. Through coaching, execs can accelerate their existing output, enhance the quality of their work, learn to think creatively, and become strong leaders of their companies.

In our example that compares consulting to purchasing a store-bought dessert, executive coaching is the equivalent of putting two creative chefs in the kitchen to work through a recipe together. As you can imagine, coaching is more of a free-form relationship and the outcome is a true reflection of what the executive puts into the process.

You can help your executives see and achieve their true potentials by scheduling an executive coaching consultation with one of Arden’s esteemed coaches today!
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