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Executive Coaching vs. Consulting: Which One Is Right for Me? (And What’s the Difference?)

The 4 Main Differences between Executive Coaching & Consulting

The terms executive coaching and consulting are often used interchangeably. However, there are key differences between them.

The quick answer is cost. Executive coaching is typically the less expensive option that offers a more personalized and collaborative process focused on individual development. To achieve targeted coaching outcomes, success stays with the client's ability to apply the concepts for personal growth and results.

Consulting, on the other hand, is a more structured and analytical process focused on or organizational improvement. Frequently, projects include multiple stakeholders, such as teams or entire organizations. Companies hire a consultant to provide tangible outcomes such as recommended solutions to restructuring, strategic planning, new sales hire results, building a training program, etc. which usually require research and interviews by the consultant.

According to Marcy Stoudt, founder of Revel Coach™ and Nest by Revel™, the goal of both executive coaching and consulting is to help clients improve their professional performance and achieve their goals.

Stoudt breaks down the differences into four categories: Focus, Relationship, Process, and Outcome.


Executive coaching is primarily focused on developing the skills, knowledge, and abilities of an individual leader or executive, while consulting is focused on providing expert advice, solutions, and recommendations to a team or organization.


Executive coaching is a one-on-one relationship between a coach and an executive while consulting commonly involves working with a team or client organization.


Executive coaching is a collaborative process that involves setting goals, identifying challenges, developing strategies, and providing feedback to help an executive achieve their goals. Consulting is typically a more structured process that involves gathering data, analyzing problems, and providing recommendations for improvement.


Executive coaching is aimed at improving an individual's performance, leadership skills, and overall effectiveness, while consulting is aimed at improving the performance and efficiency of a team or organization.

Revel Coach Executive Coaching vs. Consulting Difference Worksheet
Executive Coaching vs. Consulting: What's the Difference?

As an expert on organizational development, Stoudt says there are times when consulting and executive coaching intertwine.

“Often, employees have the added struggle of harmonizing family and career, which affects the team. When I consult with teams, the conversations reveal that one-on-one coaching is necessary to help elite teams improve performance. I'm able to support individuals on their path however they need. Sometimes it's personal (energy management, self-doubt, crucial conversations, etc.), and other times it's about business (mapping out a new process, achieving better sales, building a culture).”

Though both executive coaching and consulting can be valuable, they serve different purposes. Executive coaching is focused on personal and professional development, while consulting is focused on solving specific business problems. Considering teams and organizations are made of individuals, helping team members define and reach their personal goals results in an organization achieving its own desired outcomes, creating a win-win for all involved.

Unify your team around the collective vision of success and team member priorities.

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Alison Nissen is passionate about stories and believes everyone has a story worth sharing. As an award-winning author, blogger, podcaster, and co-founder of Revel Coach, she finds inspiration in helping others identify their purpose. Alison is an accomplished public speaker, hosts the Florida Writer Podcast and co-hosts Revel Coach's Revel Coach + Podcast, where each week, she and her partner (and sister) interview individuals who are changing the world.


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