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What’s in a Title?


Consultant? Coach? Contractor? Counsellor-Therapist?  Entrepreneur?  Who does what? 


Ten years ago people became Consultants or Contractors  when their corporate roles were “restructured”.  Five years ago a number of Consultants morphed into Coaches.  Today many Consultants and Coaches have packaged themselves as Entrepreneurs.  (As you’ll see, Counsellors-Therapists inhabit another spectrum altogether). 


So…what expertise will help you most with your current “opportunity” or “challenge”?

A Consultant is a professional who provides expert advice to solve problems.  While a Consultant has influence over a project, she has no direct authority to implement change;  that remains the client’s prerogative.  There are internal consultants who operate within an organization on payroll as well as external consultants who provide global perspectives on an as and when required basis for a fee.  A Consultant may have a designation from her specific community of practice, e.g. certified human resources professional (CHRP) and/or from a professional association like The Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC).     


A Coach is a professional who enhances the individual’s own ability to solve problems.  The Coach recommends ways for learning new personal and/or professional behaviours and helps set goals for achieving new levels of success. The client must be committed to making the recommended changes and to doing the work;  there’s no magic wand or silver bullet!  There are a number of coaching specialties:  business, career, executive, life, performance, skills, sports, etc.  Coaches can be certified through a number of professional bodies, including but not limited to:  Adler International Learning, Coach U, Gestalt Institute, International Coach Federation.     


A Contractor is a subject matter expertise who provides services, just in time.  The courts generally look at four criteria when differentiating between a self- employed Contractor who invoices for services and an Employee on payroll:

1.      Control:  Less control is generally exercised by a Client over a Contractor than by an Employer over an Employee 

2.      Chance of Profit/Risk of Loss:  A Contractor generally has some degree of financial risk and more opportunities for profit than an Employee

3.      Integration:  A Contractor’s work is likely to be less integrated with the Client’s business than an Employee’s

4.      Tools and equipment:  A Contractor is responsible for supplying and maintaining her own tools and equipment


A Counsellor or Therapist is a professional who supports an individual when confronting aspects of behaviour that don’t serve her best interests.  She may need healing resulting from:  abuse, addiction, anger, anxiety, depression, grief, parenting or relationship challenges, etc.  Counsellors or Therapists like Clergy, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, etc. are regulated by their respective professional colleges and draw from a wide range of techniques to guide you to awareness and, ultimately, the potential for change and emotionally healthier ways to live your life.  In this kind of a relationship, the key is finding someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable.  Often your provincial health plan and/or employee benefits plan will cover costs, either fully or partially. 


A Counselor or Therapist is different than the traditional medical Doctor, Nurse Practitioner and/or an alternative/holistic Health Practitioner like a Naturopath who would treat physical unwellness. 


An Entrepreneur (cf. “Breakthrough Entrepreneurship”, Jon Burgstone and Bill Murphy Jr.) is someone who “pursues opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled…The perception of opportunity in the absence of resources helps explain much of what differentiates entrepreneurial leadership from that of corporate administrators:  the emphasis on team rather than hierarchy, fast decisions rather than deliberations and equity rather than cash compensation….Entrepreneurs offer their teams a larger share of a vision for a future payoff, rather than a smaller share of the meager resources at hand.  Opportunity is the only resource you have.”    


So…when I do what I do best every day, I:

·         Consult, e.g. Organizational Effectiveness projects

·         Coach, e.g. Career Assessment and Management relationships

·         Contract, e.g. Interim HR Executive assignments 


I’m definitely not a Counsellor-Therapist and, while I’m entrepreneurially inclined (and aspire to be a Dragon), I’d hesitate to call myself a full fledged entrepreneur…just yet!

How can I help you?