Understanding the Differences Between Executive Coaches, Management Consultants, and Therapists

If you are in the market for advice regarding your personal or professional life, as you compare your options, you may wonder how a management consultant, an executive coach, and a therapist differ and how to determine which is best qualified for the type of guidance or support you or your team are seeking.

I have served both as a consultant and a coach, and I refer my clients to therapists when the help they need is more psychological or emotional in nature. In this post, I describe my previous work as a management consultant and now as an executive coach, explain how the three roles (management consultant, executive coach, and therapist) differ, and provide guidance on how to choose the right one for you.

Management Consulting

As a former management consultant (Deloitte in NYC) my role was to serve as an independent, outside, objective consultant (typically a part of an independent external team) who could assess a client’s perceived needs and present concrete and highly specific solutions. We would interview the key players at the company that hired us, collect and analyze data, and offer solutions at the end of the project. Most often the end of the management consulting engagement would include a presentation and a binder given to company executives stating our findings and recommendations.

Most management consulting projects address integrative business-focused issues and involved one or more departments, never just a sole individual. We worked on Continue reading…