3) How is the consulting project different from the coaching process?
Consulting projects (engagements) may be performed by in-house teams, or by bringing in an external management consultancy. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. A common weakness of the in-house team is for it to lack the breadth of vision that an outside perspective gives. The compensating strength is implementation. The team knows how to navigate corporate politics to ensure adequate resources and management buy-in to turn reports and action plans into real work, real results.
A common strength of the external management consultancy is the quality of concepts presented. A common weakness is their implementation. In both cases the cumulative effect of multiple consulting projects may fall below expectations. Why? We submit three reasons:
1) Projects tend to have a narrow focus on a particular problem or opportunity, which can lead to their not being properly integrated into the corporation's (sbu´s) operations as a whole. Projects are often not aligned, either with one another, or with a coherent strategy.
2) Organizational dynamics (buy-in and mind-set) are frequently underestimated.
3) Remuneration of the planners of the project generally is not tied to the success or failure of it.
The Coaching Process entails an executive coach assisting the decision maker to decide what to make happen where, how, and actually making it happen. He is an extra set of "eyes and ears" with a different perspective. As such, he provides a reality check and is a sometime Devil's Advocate. To continue the bibical reference: consulting teams deliver fish, often an entire a boatload of fresh ones to sell at the market. The coach delivers no fish. Rather he assits you in where to find the fish, how best to go about fishing there, and where and how to market them. The strategy coach is co-explorer, co-cartographer and co-navigator through the shoals of strategy formation and execution. His role is elaborated upon in the next article.
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