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Coaching, Consulting, and Mentoring

By Wythe Walker

Management 101 Series


Consulting, coaching, mentoring. Those three terms sound alike. What’s the difference, if any, between the three? Quite a bit, actually.

A consultant is someone who analyzes your business, tells you what you

probably already know, gives you a report, charges you a fee, and leaves.

A coach is someone who works with you each day, week, month, year and helps you achieve measurable goals.

A mentor is someone who helps you understand yourself better to change yourself so you can coach yourself. This type of change occurs but over time and with considerable effort.

Of the three, for most businesses and organizations, a coach is what you probably want. Why? Because a good coach will bring you the fastest, measurable results in the shortest period of time.

Also, coaching usually works. Consulting rarely does. Mentoring has the greatest long-lasting benefit but requires the most effort before showing results.

Most organizations looking to grow faster or better should consider finding a coach that is a good fit. Especially consider a coach if your business is stagnant, morale is poor, or you’re not achieving the results you expected.

How do you recognize a good coach and where can you find them? The best bet is to find someone who has worked in your field, has a proven track record of success, and has moved into consulting/coaching as the next step in their career. The closer their work has been to yours, the better.

A good coach will understand the basic principles of good management and the specifics of your work. An ideal approach is for them to assess your company, meet with you to review their report, then, you can both mutually agree upon goals they can help you achieve. These should be both short-term (less than three months) and long (one year).

Most organizations have user groups where coaches hang around. Try looking there first.

Because the goals you’ll set will be measurable and observable, you’ll know right away whether you and the coach are a good fit. If things aren’t working out, find another coach. There is one out there for you.

For more information, email

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