Inspiring and Coaching

I firmly believe that …

I love to coach, not just consult.

I like to inspire, not just motivate.

I run a practice, not a business.

I do not like to consult.

There are many phrases that describe a consultant, some respectful and some in lighter vain. I see myself as a coach and here are how the two roles differ in my mind.

A ConsultantA Coach
Solves Client’s problemBuilds client’s competency to solve the problem
Maintains a transactional relationship,
over a finite duration of the task,
with a defined deliverable and closure
Builds an empathic relationship,
that is longer lasting,
with no pre-defined end point
Provides a tangible and visible Outcome with explicit solutionProvides an intangible and invisible outcome, with implicit competency
Is expected to be more competent than the client on the transactional engagementIs expected to make the client more competent than what the client believes possible
Protects his/her skills, tools, and tricks as IPShares his/her skills to develop the client
Is vested in the task outcomeIs vested in client success
Controls the solution speedPermits the client to control the developmental pace
Tends to give what client wantsIs compelled to give what client needs
Recommends when client needs them againRecommends when client needs a consultant
Is good for solving a problemIs good for building the skills to solve a class of problems.

I must admit that I sometimes struggle to develop a good connection with many clients who are only used to working with contractors and vendors. But once leaders understand that good coaches push hard for a good reason, it becomes easy. There are times when I am wrong, and we all have a learning moment.

I do not like to Motivate.

Too often, managers and consultants are focused on motivating their people and teams to do something. Well, it works. However, I have been fortunate enough to work in environments where the need for influence without authority was the norm. And that led to an appreciation of the term ‘inspiring’.  Inspiration lasts beyond jobs, and titles.

Is an external pull to perform & accomplishIs an internal drive or urge to pursue
Pulls you towards a goal or an objectiveDrives you towards a purpose
Provides generally visible & tangible rewardsProvides generally invisible & intangible rewards
Aligns you with management styles and metricsAligns you with leadership attitude and outcomes
Is good for improving productivityIs required to foster innovation

I do not run a business.

Just because I have a registered legal business entity, does not imply that I run a business.

BusinessFirm or a Practice
Sells a product or serviceProvides professional service
Marketing directed at commodity being soldMarketing directed at competency of service provider
Has a management structureGenerally, loosely structured team
Myriad of business & pricing models More likely to charge and collect in advanceSimple fixed price or T&M type billing usually after rendering the services
Financial gains are the primary objective, Quality and delivery become growth driversPurpose, delivery, and reputation defines growth Financial gains are a desirable outcome
Innovation and productivity fuels growthOpen mind and continuous learning fuels growth