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Have you heard the word “coachsulting” and wondered, “What buzzword will people come up with next?” You’re not alone! The term is new and refers to people who have skills of both consultant and coach. First, let’s be clear on the difference between coaching and consulting.

What Is Coaching?

Typically in a coaching engagement, the coach asks powerful questions that help the client navigate their thoughts and generate an answer that already lies within them. A coach:

  • Aids by enabling learning, not teaching
  • Is not limited by a personal relationship
  • Is growth-focused
  • Does not need to be an expert in a specific industry
  • Has goals related to performance, results and outcomes

Coachsulting provides both coaching and consulting services to the same clients under the same engagement. The goal is to provide one-on-one sessions that are tailored to the client’s specific personal and professional development needs. The engagement could entail a mix of coaching, training, advice and guidance at various points in the relationship based on the client’s needs. Coachsulting sessions are designed to enhance, develop and support leadership skills. Whether an individual is transitioning to leadership, an established leader or an individual contributor, the fusion of services is meant to help them achieve personal and professional goals.

I can help you acquire more customers. Interested?

Leadership development isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. The coachsulting approach provides an individual focus with less emphasis on broad conversations when the priority is a solution to a specific problem. The pace of the engagement can be adjusted to suit the individual.

Occasionally, when a person or organization is working with both a coach and a consultant, there is a disconnect between each person’s recommendations. It isn’t a matter of one person’s being right and one person’s being wrong but simply two people looking at the same issue from different perspectives. Having one person serve as both consultant and coach can enable cohesiveness. As a coach, the coachsultant guides the client to decide what they want to do, and as a consultant, they teach the client how to do it.

The Argument Against Coachsulting

There is a place for both coaching and consulting services, but can they really be mixed? The goals and approach of each are different. One approach may supersede the other if the coachsultant is more comfortable using one skill set over the other. For example, if the client believes they are being coached, and the coachsultant is consulting (giving advice) instead, how would the client recognize that the advice is is feasible, sustainable and meeting their true need?

Encouraging empathy within your team

This not only helps your whole team develop more empathy for each other, but it really pushes the boundaries of your technology stack, surfacing issues that you might not have noticed until you reach a certain scale (video conferencing software is one that comes to mind).

If you plan on doing a remote week with your team, I’d recommend putting the following guardrails in place:

  • None of the team are allowed to come into the office for the week.
  • Each team member will be given a small budget that can be used to cover expenses for things like WiFi, co-working spaces, travel to a new location, etc.
  • Everyone on the team needs to be available for meetings within a 3-hour time-window (if everyone is in the same time zone you could increase this to 5 hours).
  • Each team member fills out a small journal entry at the end of the day to document how the day went, any challenges they faced, any deviations from their regular schedule that they implemented, and any ideas for how things could be improved

Communicate clear working guardrails for your team to follow

If you haven’t worked remotely before, I wouldn’t hold it against you if you have an image of someone sitting on a beach, sipping cocktails while they complete their two hours of daily work before heading onto a flight to another exotic location.

Well, the reality is often very different.

WiFi challenges, scrambling to find a quiet place to work from, late-night meetings or painfully early starts, your dog thinking it’s a never-ending playtime when you’re trying to get things done – these are just a few of the daily realities.

Few things demonstrate this perception better than a search through stock images of remote work, as was highlighted in this tweet from my colleague and friend, Kieran Flanagan.