jen spencer coaches

Coach or Consultant?
06 21 11, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Business Related, Growth + Development

Who here has an aversion to the word “coach”? I do.

When I first became a coach, people would introduce me as a ‘life coach’. In an effort to redirect focus, gain status and validation, and not alienate potential clients, I gently said “I’m actually a business and executive coach. It’s really all the same thing, though.”

Life coaching always felt like therapy to me. And, I love therapy, but I wanted my descriptor to be distinct and more accurate around the areas I wanted to focus in my coaching practice.

Almost every successful leader in this world has had a coach — someone who champions them and also helps shine the light on the path that will help them reach their goals and dreams.

Having a coach can be a powerful experience. A coach is there to inspire, manage development, mentor, facilitate, create accountability, structure and clarity, and give the tough feedback about how we all can get in the way of our own success. We are no different than sports coaches, except I don’t think we yell as much – usually. 😉

A consultant is someone who is considered an expert who gives professional advice. I have a client that hates to admit that she’s been coached, but if she said she was getting consulted, she wouldn’t have any issue with it. It’s a tricky word.

However, good consultants use coaching. They understand their client, where their priorities, resources, and energies lie, so they can guide them to the right solutions.

After year two, I realized I was actually consulting and coaching. When I understood a client’s business, they wanted to know my opinion and advice. So I began to give it when asked.

Now I call myself an executive + business coach and consultant. My practice thrives on working with people who are passionate about their work. Do we work on life stuff sometimes? Absolutely. But I’m not as particular about how I’m introduced because I’m clear about what my role is and who I’m serving.

We all have to be careful of the categories we put people (and companies) in. Those categories can get in the way of seeing and hearing potential great gifts.

P.S. If you have ideas for other coaching descriptors, those that hold less baggage and/or would be more comfortable for you to say, do share in the comments below! AND if you are proud coach, sing it! I am always open and curious to hear what is on your mind.


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