Consulting vs coaching

Design Curator has always been a place to get help, advice and understanding, it has grown to be able to offer consults on a wide range of marketing, design, e-commerce & product topics. During lockdown there has be a huge rise in people taking on coaches for business or life, to use the extra time they have to improve and grow their brands. Learning new skills by buying e-books, joining networks, taking online workshops are also ways you can invest in yourselves.


So I wanted to share the differences between consulting and coaching to help when choosing the type of service that will help you especially if that is working with Design Curator.

The biggest difference between coaching and consulting is who holds the power. In consulting the consultant holds the power in the relationship, while in coaching the client holds the power. A consultant holds the answers, while a coach helps their client find their own answers. It might sound a little harsh but the reason you go to someone outside your brand is for their wisdom on a subject that you lack. A coach can be just as knowledgable but is there to cheerlead your own skills and ideas helping projects come to competition that way.


This can be the largest obstacles to a successful consultation; you need to believe in what the consult advises you. If you know you tend to lean towards your own ideas over someone else's a coach might be more your speed.


However with both consultants and coaches you won't get any benefit if you don't action anything, whether its something your told to do or something you prompted to remember, doing nothing gets you nothing. Just like the age old saying just buying gym equipment doesn't help you get fit.


Something shared by both consultants and coaches is providing a tool kit to clients. Though coaches don't have to have specific experience in your topic they provide expertise in change, goal attainment and offer an accountability process which is effective regardless of what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes, a consultant is in a longer-term relationship with their client, acting as more of a mentor. Providing new procedures during your interaction that stream line not just the relationship but your business logistics as a whole. Consultants overload you with lots of ideas and new things to get you to try them all and find the ones that work for you. Often just the practice of stepping outside your comfort zone can produce growth.


I always knew I was a consult because my personality was more knowledge based than emotive (though I can be plenty enthusiastic, as I get to choose to work with clients I believe in). It also shows in the way I quote for things, it is based on the type of service not just time taken. Depending on the type of job I need a different mind set, equipment and expenses that all effect the quote I give. Also if you want to talk to me about other topics outside an agreed project it will effect the quote. Coaches usually work on a hourly/day rate where you can talk about anything needed to reach your goal.


However after all of the above, as the life coaching industry has evolved, it has created a popular type of coaching, a consulting-coaching hybrid, referred to as niche life coaching. In this case, the coach has expertise, knowledge or experience in a particular area and coaches their clients to improve in that area only.


Niche coaching means that now the lines between consults & coaches is blurred. It is much more about the personality of who you are working with one to one that will decide if you want to work with them. Whether you want someone hands on, able to be a positive side to your pessimism or someone who is at the end of the phone for those difficult decisions... all of these can be traits of a good consult or coach.


So what does Design Curator offer.


It all starts with our initial consult, where we get to know you and let you get to know us. Think speed dating for business. It also allows us to put together a bespoke proposal for you and your needs that you can take away and action either with or without our help.


From there our services include mentoring, single design projects, website maintenance, social media content and more. We work both on a one off basis and with clients on retainer for long term support. Find out more detail on our SERVICES page.

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