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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Am I a Book COACH, or am I a Book CONSULTANT?

Okay, so what is the difference? It is all about semantics. As an author you would think I'd be very discerning when it comes to using words. In fact, words are the engine that  drive an author's ideas, without them an author would be well, not an author! So, what am I talking about when I say that I am a book consultant and not a book coach? In fact, why would I shun the word that appears to be the buzzword for those who help other people?

There are life coaches, finance coaches, book coaches, author coaches, business coaches, publicity coaches and, of course, athletic coaches, but  then  there are consultants. Business consultants, book consultants, author consultants... okay, I'm sure by now you get the picture. The bottom line is you use an expert (a.k.a. the "coach" or "consultant") to help you in whatever area you need help.

In my experience a coach can do marvelous things for your career. They learn about you and your needs and they work on the whole picture, allowing you to understand, via self-awareness, which direction you need to go. A knowledgeable coach can work in many areas and is not necessarily industry specific A good example of this is  a life coach. I have used life coaches (and blown more than a few away with my wacky and busy life!). These fine people have set me straight and we have worked toward my goals,  and here is where I believe the problem lies.

If you are a business owner, and knowledgeable, you have a definite idea of your goals, even if they may be haphazard, and that is where you can learn the value of a coach; they can think  you  through the process, effectively aid you in coming to decisions, and basically join with you, pointing you forward toward meeting your goals. That is where I part company from coaching.

As an author with a vested interest in "success," a term we can banter around until the end of time, the definition will be different to each of us; I have very goal-oriented ideas about what is involved in the publishing process, and the needs of an author to become published, especially if I am the one with the vested interest and the dollars to match. I consult with my clients, express my viewpoints, and make suggestions they are free to take or leave. I ask well- pointed and specific questions and garner from their responses the direction they should take to bring their book projects to completion.

So, what are your thoughts on the matter? What are the differences between coaching and consulting in your opinion? Does it really matter?


  1. I've only talked with a life coach once and I think what you are saying is that a coach doesn't really offer ideas where as a consultant does, is that right? I'm a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of gal. If I can do it on my own, I do. If I need someone to help me, I appreciate that help from someone with expertise and valid ideas.

  2. Coach = a private tutor; one who instructs or trains; to train intensively.
    Consultant = one who gives professional advice or services.
    Source = Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.

    I always go straight to the dictionary when I'm dealing with the finer points of semantics. You've definitely pointed out the subtle differences between coaches and consultants and done a good job of explaining what exactly you do.

    I just have to ask, though, are you a BOOK consultant, or an AUTHOR consultant? Yep, that's another finer point of semantics (leave it to me to be picky about such things)!

  3. The life coach I used helped me to focus on my strengths and drill down to what I really wanted to do. She made me think for other words, she didn't come out and say, "You need to do this or that," it was more..."So, you think you want to publish other people? Is that the direction that your are going?" Those types of questions make you think and move on accordingly.

    In answer to Bethany's question, I am both a book and author consultant. I have managed to get myself involved in every phrase of the writing and publishing world! Thanks for the dictionary reference. Leave it to an editor. :D