I worked as a management consultant with a large global consulting firm for years. Many people assume that now I do the same without being employed. To a certain extent, they are right. When I was a consultant, I tried to get my own way using coaching instead of resorting to autocracy. However, it is different in numerous respects. 

A consultant gives advice, whereas a coach makes the most out of the client. I will demonstrate the distinction by using a very simple example: When I was a consultant and a client asked me what color of tie he should wear, I advised him to wear one that was navy and wine-red striped. Today, I would ask questions instead (in brackets you can see the stages of the SPARKLE Coaching Model the questions relate to.)

  • What is the occasion? Is he attending a ball, a business meeting, an interview or… (Situation)
  • What is the objective? To present a professional image, to project himself as an irresistible male, to be trendy, or… (Positioning)
  • What color can the tie be? After he listed all the colors of hanging in his closet, I would suggest for him to purchase a new one, even a purple spotted orange tie… (Alternatives)
  • Which one will he choose among the available options, in this specific situation, to achieve the specific goal? (Route)
  • What is stopping him to make a final decision? (Key Obstacles)
  • The television interview is in 2 hours. How can the coach help to get over this difficulty? (Leverage)
  • Finally, he made a choice to wear a navy and wine-red stripped tie…and he received compliments from me and others as well. (Evaluation)