What is consulting? What is a consultant? Is a consultant the same as a coach or a mentor? How do you get into consulting and is it worth it?
These are all questions I shall answer in this article.
Why answer them?
As a business growth consultant, I work with a lot of business owners, many of whom are consultants.
I hear these questions time and time again, particularly from people at the beginning of their consulting business life.
I have been running my consulting business since 2003. I believe that means that I have a fair amount of experience when it comes to talking about the consultancy business model, so let’s crack on.
Consultant, Coach or Mentor?
Let’s look at the other business which regularly get lumped in to the consulting model.
A coach doesn’t lead their client to a particular outcome, but instead asks questions of their client to allow their client to reach their own outcome or form their own opinion on the topic in question.
The coach does not have to have any expertise or experience of the challenge that their client is experiencing, as the client, with the help of their coach, actually self solves their issue by answering each of the questions their coach puts to them.
I have worked with coaches during my business life, and they certainly have a purpose to serve.
For me, their best use is when you are facing a more internal and personal issue, for example a lack of motivation, struggling with imposter syndrome or confidence generally.
A coach in this situation will work through the issues with you and generally guide you to a better place.
A consultant is very different from a coach in that they generally have an area of expertise which they sell through their consulting services to their clients.
For example, I sell business growth consultancy services.
If a client comes to me and asks me to help them to grow their business, whilst I will ask questions initially to fully understand precisely where they are now, what they have done to get them there and where they would like to be, once I have that information, I will map out a plan of action for them to follow to get their business to where they want it to be.
I provide the answers rather than the client being coached to come up with their own answers.
If you have a particular challenge, such as needing to recruit people, grow your business or sell your business, a consulting company is going to be able to provide you with the answers and a plan to follow to achieve your desired outcome.
For specific challenges, consultants with expertise in that area will generally get the results that you are looking for.
My view is that a mentor is a blend of a coach and a consultant.
Generally, they have many years of business experience and can advise you on the full range of issues that you might face when you are in business.
My consulting business has very much morphed into mentoring too as my years of experience has developed.
Whilst I initially focused on purely business growth, as many of my clients have been with me for many years, I have also been asked to help them with:
- Staff motivation
- How to remove the business owner from the coal face work
- How to remove a non-performing team member or business partner
- How to get their business ready to sell
- How to set up Standard Operating Procedures
The list goes on.
I still pitch myself as a consultant primarily, but I am very much a mentor too.
Hopefully, that gives you a good understanding of the difference between coaches, consultants and mentors, and allows you to make an informed decision of who you turn to for help in running and growing your business.
If you are looking to grow your business, and need a consultant or mentor to tell you what to do and how to do it to achieve the results that you are looking for, download my free guide by clicking the button below to discover more: