Difference Between Coaching and Consulting

Why not read our latest blog post, Industrial Strategy Boosting Technical Skills?

Consulting / Business CoachingAs an employer of highly qualified and experienced practitioners, TimelessTime would describe itself as a consulting firm. But many terms are bandied around today.  We use four key techniques to effect change in a business: consulting, coaching, training and mentoring   We are therefore consultants, coaches, trainers and mentors. The hat we wear depends on the context. This brief blog sets out the difference between coaching and consulting.

The Start Point

  • a coach presumes that the principal (of the firm having the issue or problem and who wishes to hire the services of the coach or consultant) has the skills, knowledge and experience to solve a given problem and just needs help to develop a method and solution for themselves.
  • a consultant works directly on a problem that the principal does not have the skills, knowledge or experience to complete his or her self.  In some cases, whilst he or she may have the skills, knowledge and experience, they chose to outsource the work.

Methods Used

  • a coach works through the principal.
  • a coach uses coaching techniques to work on the problem through the principal in one-to-one sessions, encouraging the principal to develop action plans to solve the problem.  The principal is responsible for the action plans.
  • the coach acts as the principal’s friend.
  • a consultant works with and for the principal.
  • a consultant works with the principal and undertakes research in order to elaborate the problem until the root cause is known.  The consultant then postulates a solution and completes such other work as is needed to determine if the initial hypothesis is proven or modifies it until the solution is clear.  This uses a consulting approach and lifecycle to produce tangible deliverables.
  • a consultant acts as an agent for the principal and acts in his stead.


  • a coach is generally competent in business and may have held senior posts in firms but this is by no means essential.
  • a coach is specifically skilled in coaching and working with principals to awaken inner strengths and competences.
  • a coach is diploma qualified as a coach.
  • a consultant is specifically competent in business having held senior posts in firms and is normally multi-skilled across the business disciplines.
  • a consultant is academically qualified in business as a manager normally at post-graduate level.
  • a consultant is specifically skilled in one or more aspects of management.  In TimelessTime’s case this is in human resource management (HRM) and the discipline of managing people.
  • a consultant is specifically skilled in the art of consulting, able to chose various methods of approach and working to achieve the necessary end.


  • the coaching deliverables are ‘delivered’ each session when working with the principal in the form of structured investigation.  Lasting change is achieved through the principal taking ownership of improvement plans.
  • the consultants’ deliverables are mostly in paper form.  Often they are reports or policies or procedures or practices that are then consulted in to the principals firm to achieve a lasting change in the firm.  Examples might be a new salary structure or a working appraisal scheme.


Coaches and consultants work in very different ways.  Neither is a better approach than the other.  It depends on what the principal needs.  Coaches bring out the best in the principal.  Consultants deliver tangible change instruments.

TimelessTime is a people-management consulting firm that brings the best of human resources management and organisational development to its clients.  Browse our web site to see our services and products.

Managing people is complex. Get specialist help.

Call Us Today