Digital Marketing Consultant vs. Coach: What is the difference?

8 min read
Nov 4, 2023 9:04:50 AM

I bet you didn't dream of figuring out where to get prospective buyers from or how to write an educational blog post when you studied architecture or started your sustainable building firm. But, unfortunately, the intricacies of how to market and sell eco houses come with the territory of heading up a company.

Eventually, you decide you want to bring in someone to help figure this out. But the question is: should you turn to a business coach or a consultant for guidance?

While both roles offer valuable insights and support, the lines can be blurry and confusing. Both have advantages and drawbacks, and understanding the distinction between a coach and a consultant is crucial to fully leverage their potential and make informed decisions to avoid the costly mistake of hiring the wrong role.

In this article, we will dive into the shared traits and overlapping roles of coaches and consultants while also highlighting their distinguishing features. By exploring these aspects, CEOs in the green building industry can gain valuable insights into when to seek coaching or consulting and how it can positively impact their personal growth and business success.


Shared Traits & Overlapping Roles Of A Business Coach Consultant

Both are external to your organization

Both coaches and consultants provide an outsider's perspective, often bringing fresh insights and unbiased opinions. This external viewpoint is essential in sustainable construction, as it allows CEOs to gain a new perspective on their operations and identify areas for improvement.

By stepping outside the organization, coaches and consultants can offer objective feedback and suggestions for sustainable practices that may have been overlooked internally. Their ability to see the bigger picture and understand the industry as a whole is invaluable in driving sustainable construction forward.

Both are problem solvers by nature

They thrive on challenges, offering solutions or guiding clients to find their own. In the sustainable construction industry, problem-solving is at the core of driving innovation and implementing sustainable practices. Coaches and consultants bring their problem-solving expertise to the table, helping CEOs navigate the complex landscape of sustainability.

Whether it's finding sustainable materials and construction techniques or developing strategies to reduce carbon emissions, their ability to analyze challenges and propose effective solutions is vital in achieving sustainable outcomes.

Both are experts in their respective fields

Whether it's business strategy, leadership development, or sustainable construction techniques, their expertise is undeniable. Coaches and consultants in sustainable construction have a deep understanding of the industry and have honed their skills through years of experience.

Their expertise allows them to provide CEOs with valuable insights and guidance, making sure that sustainable practices are effectively integrated into every aspect of the business. From advising on green building certifications to implementing energy-efficient systems, their knowledge and expertise contribute to the success of sustainable construction projects.

Sometimes, the roles will cross over

A consultant might guide a CEO in personal leadership development, while a coach might offer insights on business strategies based on their experience. The overlapping roles of coaches and consultants in sustainable construction create a dynamic relationship that enhances the CEO's overall growth and development. While consultants primarily focus on providing expert advice and solutions to specific problems, they can also adopt a coaching approach to support the CEO's personal development.

Likewise, coaches can draw upon their experience and expertise to offer strategic insights and recommendations in addition to their role in guiding the CEO's personal growth. This fluidity allows for a comprehensive approach to sustainable construction, addressing personal and business aspects.

Both must be able to adapt

The best professionals can wear both hats when necessary, adapting to the client's needs. In the ever-evolving world of sustainable construction, adaptability is key to success. Coaches and consultants must be able to adapt their approach based on the unique needs of each CEO and the specific challenges they face.

They understand that sustainable construction is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a flexible and adaptable mindset. Whether it's providing guidance on personal development or offering strategic advice, the ability to switch between coaching and consulting roles ensures that CEOs receive the most relevant and effective support in their sustainability journey.

By understanding the shared traits and overlapping roles of coaches and consultants in sustainable construction, CEOs can make informed decisions on when to seek coaching or consulting. Both roles bring valuable perspectives and insights, contributing to personal growth and business success. The ability to draw upon the expertise of coaches and consultants and leverage their unique approaches is essential in driving sustainable practices forward and positioning sustainable construction companies as leaders in the industry.

Distinguishing Features: Consultant vs. Coach


Consultants play a crucial role in the sustainable construction industry by offering their opinions and advice based on their extensive knowledge and experience. They provide direct solutions to the challenges faced by CEOs, leveraging their expertise to drive tangible improvements in business outcomes. Taking the lead in thinking and strategizing, consultants often guide the direction of projects or initiatives, ensuring that the most effective solutions are implemented.

Addressing specific, predefined problems is a key focus for consultants in sustainable construction. They delve deep into the tangible issues at hand and offer targeted solutions that address these challenges head-on. Operating within a defined scope, consultants bring their expertise to specific areas or projects, providing a specialized approach that maximizes their impact.

The primary focus of consultants in sustainable construction is on improving business outcomes. They prioritize business-centric solutions that align with the CEO's goals and objectives. By leveraging their knowledge and experience, consultants contribute to the overall success of the business, driving growth and profitability.

As consultants navigate the ever-evolving landscape of sustainable construction, their ability to offer opinions and advice, take the lead in thinking and strategizing, address specific problems, operate within a defined scope, and prioritize business-centric solutions makes them invaluable partners for CEOs in their sustainability journey.


Coaches in the sustainable construction industry have a unique approach to their work, refraining from giving direct advice and instead asking probing questions to stimulate thinking. They understand that the client has the answers within them and simply needs guidance to uncover them. By facilitating the client's own thinking process, coaches empower CEOs to take ownership of their decisions and solutions.

One of the key roles of a coach is to challenge the client to identify the real problem. They understand that surface-level issues are often symptoms of deeper underlying problems. Through thought-provoking questions and active listening, coaches delve deeper into these underlying issues, helping CEOs gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they face. This process of self-reflection and exploration allows CEOs to develop a more comprehensive and effective approach to problem-solving.

Coaches also operate with a broader, more holistic scope. While consultants may focus on specific areas or projects, coaches take a comprehensive view of the CEO's personal development and broader business challenges. They recognize that personal growth is interconnected with business success and prioritize the CEO's individual growth and development. By helping CEOs enhance their leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness, coaches enable them to make better decisions, build stronger teams, and drive sustainable practices within their organizations.

The coaching mindset has a profound impact on the work of CEOs in the sustainable construction industry. It encourages self-reflection, introspection, and a deeper understanding of one's values and purpose. By fostering personal growth and development, coaches enable CEOs to become more effective leaders, driving positive change and innovation in their organizations. This focus on individual growth ultimately leads to business success, as CEOs who prioritize their own development are better equipped to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and create a sustainable future for their companies.

In conclusion, the role of a coach in the sustainable construction industry is distinct from that of a consultant. While consultants offer direct advice and solutions, coaches stimulate thinking, facilitate the client's own thought process, challenge the identification of the real problem, operate with a broader scope, and prioritize individual growth and development. By embracing a coaching mindset, CEOs in the sustainable construction industry can unlock their full potential, drive personal and business growth, and position themselves as leaders in the industry.

How To Know If You Need A Coach Or Consultant

As a CEO in the sustainable construction industry, introspection is key. Taking the time to reflect on your approach and the impact it has on your business and personal growth is essential for success. By asking yourself the following questions, you can gain valuable insights and make informed decisions about when to seek coaching versus consulting.

Have you been consulting when you should be coaching? It's important to recognize when you might need guidance on personal growth versus business strategy. Sometimes, CEOs may be so focused on finding solutions to specific problems that they overlook the importance of personal development. By being aware of this tendency, you can actively seek out coaching when you need support in areas such as leadership development, emotional intelligence, or self-awareness. Understanding the value of coaching in these aspects can help you strike a balance between consulting and coaching, ensuring that both your personal growth and business strategy are given equal attention.

What challenges do you face in shifting your approach? Transitioning between a coaching and consulting mindset can present its own set of hurdles. As a CEO, you may be accustomed to taking charge and providing direct solutions to problems. Shifting to a coaching mindset requires a different approach, one that focuses on facilitating the client's own thinking process and empowering them to find their own solutions. This shift may require you to let go of control and trust in the process. Recognizing and understanding the challenges that come with this transition can help you navigate them more effectively and embrace the benefits that a coaching mindset can bring.

How would a coaching mindset impact your work and client relationships? By considering the long-term benefits of personal growth on business success, you can better understand the impact a coaching mindset can have. Embracing a coaching approach can lead to improved client relationships, as it fosters a sense of trust, collaboration, and empowerment.

By guiding your clients through a process of self-reflection and exploration, you can help them uncover their own solutions and develop a more comprehensive and effective approach to problem-solving. Additionally, focusing on your own personal growth and development as a CEO can enhance your leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and decision-making abilities, ultimately driving positive change and innovation within your organization.


In conclusion, as a CEO in the sustainable construction industry, it is crucial to engage in introspection and consider the balance between consulting and coaching. By recognizing the need for personal growth and seeking coaching when necessary, understanding the challenges of transitioning between mindsets, and embracing a coaching approach, you can unlock your full potential as a leader. This, in turn, will drive personal and business growth and position you as a leader in the industry.

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Related FAQ

How do coaches and consultants differ in their approach to implementing suggested strategies and following up on progress? 

Coaches typically focus on empowering business leaders to implement strategies themselves, offering guidance and support as needed. They may schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress and adjust plans. Consultants, on the other hand, often take a more hands-on approach in the implementation of strategies, directly managing projects and ensuring execution aligns with the agreed-upon objectives, with follow-up meetings to measure outcomes and make necessary adjustments.

What metrics or indicators do coaches and consultants typically use to measure the success of their interventions in a business?

Coaches measure success by the growth and development of the business leader, often using qualitative feedback on leadership skills, decision-making, and personal growth. In the case of a They Ask You Answer Certified Coach, metrics are clearly defined in the overall They Ask You Answer Mastery Scorecard and all sub scorecards. Consultants tend to use more quantitative metrics, focusing on specific business outcomes such as revenue growth, cost savings, and ROI from implemented strategies.

How do coaches and consultants integrate their strategies with a company's existing marketing and sales teams?

Both coaches and consultants work to align their strategies with the company's existing marketing and sales teams. Coaches do this by facilitating workshops and training sessions to ensure leadership and team alignment. Consultants may work more closely with the teams, often embedding themselves within the organization to analyze, recommend, and help implement process improvements and strategies that align with the company's goals.

What are the typical cost structures for hiring a digital marketing coach versus a consultant?

The cost structure for hiring a digital marketing coach or consultant can vary widely based on experience, scope of work, and duration of engagement. Coaches might offer packages based on sessions or a retainer model for ongoing support. Consultants often charge based on the project scope, with either a fixed fee for a specific project or a day rate for shorter-term engagements. Businesses should discuss and agree upon the cost structure upfront to ensure it aligns with their budget and expectations for the engagement.

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