The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is unique in many ways. When I decided to become a certified EOS® Implementer and began doing EOS coaching in Dallas, I promised myself I would never lose track of the one aspect of EOS that truly stood out to me: simplicity.
I am dedicated to that simplicity, because it puts the power in the hands of the people who need it most: my clients.
So, what’s the difference between consulting and coaching? And, what does that have to do with simplicity?
Consulting v Coaching
Let’s start with a definition of these two terms.
A lot of people that I talk to, clients and consultants alike, think that coaching and consulting are the same thing. They’ve heard them used interchangeably for so long that the pairing of consulting and coaching has gotten as bad as regardless and irregardless. St least “coaching” and “consulting” are both real words.
But, what’s the real difference between coaching and consulting and why am I so damned concerned with it?
And what does any of this have to do with EOS coaching?
Consulting is a service provided by someone who has (or thinks they have) all of the answers you need.
Marketing consultants rack up big fees by telling you all the different ways you could tweet or post to Facebook. Sales consultants look through your books and remind you of all the times you could have converted a sale, but didn’t. Hubspot consultants do….something. I’m not sure, but I swear I have seen people with this job title.
EOS Coaching unlocks the answers you already have.
Coaching is a whole different beast. Why? A coach understands that you wouldn’t be playing in the big leagues if you weren’t smart enough to have the answers. A coach, unlike a consultant, is there to help you find the answers and apply them to your business.
This sounds like a fancy way of saying a coach doesn’t do anything but listen until you break it down.
Simplicity of Coaching
Let’s approach how the simplicity of coaching compares to consulting by using an example.
Let’s say you are the CEO of a small real estate company. Things are going well enough, until you see a down-tick in sales. It’s really the market slowing. But, you are dedicated to growth so you hire a sales consultant. The consultant comes in and moves a bunch of numbers around. They tell you your people need to start following the script they provide for sales calls. And, after a few days, the consultant is gone with a huge stack of money.
Maybe the advice they gave you works. Maybe it doesn’t. The real concern you should have is that now you’re dependent. Your team was taught how to react to a specific situation. How does that help them when the next problem pops up?
It doesn’t help. That’s the truth.
Hiring A Coach
The same example with an actual coach plays out much differently.
The same real estate company experiences the same sales lag, but this time hires a coach. So, the coach comes in and asks them why they are experiencing sales lag. The team says, “it’s the market.” So, the coach says, “but not all of the real estates companies in the area are suffering, so what’s happening here?
Every member of the team gives a different reason. Bob says, “the sales team is too old. They don’t understand the new buyers.” Sarah says, “we are marketing to the wrong audience. Sales are low, because we aren’t approaching upwardly mobile families.” And, Dominique says, “We should turtle up and conserve assets while we ride out the storm.”
The coach then looks at each member and says, “these sound like real problems. Why haven’t they been addressed before now?” The team kinda blinks their eyes and comes up with excuses as the coach helps them lay out a plan for deciding on the best course of action and pursuing it fully.
The coach here doesn’t have answers. They have perspective, experience, and training in creating dialogue.
Six months down the line, when a new problem comes up, the team that hired the coach will have learned something much more valuable than “how to increase sales”. They will have learned how to solve their issues together.
This brings us the EOS coaching, specifically.
There are a lot of people out there who have asked me (in one way or another) to act as an EOS consultant. They say, “Jeff, we need EOS. Can you please give EOS to us.” It’s never easy to break the hard news to people who ask me that, to let them know that it’s less like EOS consulting and more like EOS coaching.
They want an easy way out of their problems, but the truth is that there is no easy way out. If your company is having growth issues, they aren’t going to get solved until you’ve learned and practiced the skill sets that you need under the guidance of a coach, someone who trusts in your ability to find the right answers as much as you trust them to help you get there.
EOS works best with coaching for a whole litany of reasons, but I’d like to point out a few of the big ones. Why? Because I want everyone who even considers using EOS (alone or with the assistance of an EOS Implementer like myself) to know the journey they are in for:
- The CEO / President is absolutely not the best person to objectively identify issues (at least not at first),
- even the best teams get very good at ignoring issues that a coach will point out, and
- EOS is hard; and teams that don’t have someone to push them often end up backsliding.
EOS isn’t some magic wand that you wave over your company and everything is suddenly better. It’s a process that takes time and hard work. You don’t want any of that to be wasted working in the wrong direction. To prevent that, you need the guidance of someone who has sat in the big chair.
Do right by your people by not taking the quick fix. Don’t look for a consultant. Look for a coach.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.