Business coaching, personal coaching, or consulting—what is the difference among these professional services and what does your organization really need? Many nonprofit organizations do not have the budget to hire consultants or coaches, but if you are looking for one—either personally or professionally—it’s important to understand the difference in how each service works, and what the expectations should be for working with each.
Coaching and Consulting Defined
Coaching is a process in which a coach—business, personal, etc. —helps an individual set and reach their goals. The coach offers guidance and support along the way, often with weekly meetings or other check-in sessions to ensure the person being coached is on track to achieve their goals. The coach will help the individual develop self-awareness, identify areas for improvement, and create action plans. The focus is on the individual’s personal growth and development.
Consulting is a process in which an expert in a particular field offers advice and guidance to an individual or organization. The consultant’s goal is to provide insights, resources, and expertise to help the individual or organization reach their goals. The focus is on the organization’s operations, strategies, and processes, rather than the individual’s personal growth and development.
Difference in Approach and Expectations
Coaches and consultants also differ in their approach. Coaches typically work one to one with clients, serving as both cheerleader and guide to achieving personal goals. Consultants, on the other hand, work at an organizational level, approaching business problems from the viewpoint of an expert in a particular business discipline such as accounting, finance, marketing, or management.
Given these differing approaches, the expectations should also be different whether you are working with a coach or a consultant. A coach will help an individual move past personal roadblocks, whereas a consultant should help an organization rethink and revisit processes, procedures, systems, and approaches that are hindering them as a while from achieving their objectives.
Coaching Differs from Therapy
Given the highly personal work that coaches offer, why shouldn’t people consult a therapist instead of a coach to help them overcome personal problems? Coaches approach problem-solving differently than therapists. Therapists are attuned to underlying patterns of behavior and maladaptation that may lead to psychological problems. Coaches do not deal with psychological problems. Instead, they focus on helping people make better choices, enforce positive steps, and offer guidance to overcome problems.
Expert Consultants Save Your Organization Time and Money
An expert business consultant can save your organization a great deal of time and money. Given their expertise, they can help you steer your organization towards the right systems, processes, tools, and resources to improve efficiency and ability to deliver on your mission.
For example, your organization’s systems, including accounting systems, grant management, and donor management systems, can save countless hours of manual data entry into spreadsheets. They can improve your ability to track and manage funds. And they can provide better support for all aspects of your organization so that you can implement, manage, and monitor programs effectively.
The right business consultant knows their domain so well that they can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that similar organizations face. Welter Consulting offers a variety of consulting services including software solutions and technology, accounting, audit preparation, systems review, process improvement/documentation, internal controls, and many other accounting/business management services that save your organization time and money and allows you the flexible consulting you need.
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Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact us for more information.