The difference between Coaches, Consultants, and Counselors

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The difference between Coaches, Consultants, and Counselors

In this Sunday’s Star Tribune, Matt Krumrie, in the “Ask Matt” column is asked about how to choose a Career Coach.  I am grateful to have made the list of those recommended but thought it would be a good time to help clarify the differences.

This is a big decision for people to reach out and seek out help.  It is a commitment of time, emotional energy and financial resources so it is important to know what your choices are.  It all boils down to choosing the professional who is most skilled based on your objective and who you “click” with to partner with in this process.  Interview as many as you can to feel confident in your choice.

First let’s talk about the skill set.  Everyone seems to be a “coach” these days.  But coaching is more than just telling someone what to do.  It is being skilled in knowing how to motivate change through skillful communication, insights and tools.  Coaches often get their clients to come to the answer themselves through guided questioning.  Training for coaches varies considerably.  Many are now certified but certification programs range from one week online to several weeks under the training of other coaches.  Be sure to ask your coach if they underwent supervised practice coaching as part of their certificate.

Consultants are more like advisors that offer their clients situational assessment, insight and recommendations. Consultants often have a big picture perspective and lots of expereince to draw from.  There isn’t formal training to be a consultant per se.

 Counselors are skilled at assessing issues and interrelationships.  They have an understanding of how emotions and thoughts effect behavior.  They are skilled communicators and can help clients move forward by setting goals and implementing a plan to reach the goals. Counselor hold Masters degrees in counseling.

Sometimes professionals are trained and wear 2 or all 3 of these hats.  But what is imprtant to remember is each role


About the Author:

Cultivating Careers was founded by Karen Kodzik, a Career Consultant who has worked with individuals in transition for over 13 years. Karen meets professionals at various points on their career path and works with them to gain a clearer sense of where they want to take their careers. Karen Kodzik holds a Masters Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Career Development. Karen couples seasoned counseling skills with a solid business acumen. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries to successfully reaching that next point in their career.