I recently made a contribution to a local business newspaper (Worcester Business Journal) about the growth of business consulting. According to market and industry information firm Plunkett Research, the consulting industry has grown 10% from 2013 to 2014 with global revenues of $431billion in a fragmented market that is characterized by some very large players and then a proliferation of one person operations.
One of the interesting parts of the article pertained to the difference between consulting and coaching which, for many purist coaches, there is a very important distinction. However the way I view is that they are not exclusive when one thinks of coaching, not in the sports sense, but rather in terms of effective interpersonal skills. What I like to refer to as Optimum Consulting is a method of sharing ones expertise (consulting) in a manner that fully engages the client (coaching), from problem identification all the way through to solution implementation.
The article also pointed to the fact that many consultants are now seeking coaching credentials to expand their marketability so that they can offer both consulting and executive coaching services. And while this might be the initial motivation, many are now finding that together these skills enable them to be much more effective in delivering their specific expertise; aka Optimum Consulting.
Indeed this concept spreads even further relative to knowledge and effectively conveying it. Think about our whole education system – the truly great teachers are also great coaches. Within organizations, the strong leaders are also strong coaches and I would also go as far as to say that the best parents are also the best coaches. They may not have received any formal training but innately they possess all the required skills and tools.
When you step back and think about this it seems perfectly logical. We have all had the experience of consultants coming into organization and whilst there was no questioning their knowledge, their ability to connect, influence, engage and realize desired outcomes often left much to be desired. Inevitably when nothing changed, it was easy to blame the consultant. Clearly there is a what (knowledge) and an equally important how (coaching) to ensuring clients commit to the process and subsequently get full value for money.