Consultants have specific skills, experiences and responsibilities they utilize to achieve a specific result. A turnaround consultant should have multiple skill sets, some of which include: business analytics, financial profiling, a working knowledge of accounting (financial and operating), organizational/financial symmetry, integrity and character, negotiating capability, wide ranging operational experiences, insolvency/business law knowledge, human performance assessment, diplomacy under fire, “flow-controlled” personality, abstract thinking ability and vision to see “end-to-end” while developing strategy on the fly.
There are many more. In terms of responsibility, how much leadership is required? A pure consultant serves as the hub of action plans that he or she may develop with others and provides support to existing management, who are ultimately charged with the result.
On the other hand, the turnaround manager……….the key word “manager” goes further to designate someone who leads not only fellow consultants but the business’ managers as well. The interim manager is usually a turnaround manager who supplants existing operating management. The term interim CEO became known as the turnaround person that took the helm and was charged to navigate the storm or ultimately sink, taking down (metaphorically) the turnaround practitioner(s) along with the client.
It is also important to understand that consultants represent companies in most cases. Coaches, on the other hand, generally represent individuals.
Let’s apply the knowledge and skills of the turnaround consultant to the coach. The big difference is the coach is empowered to be a catalyst, a personal agent of change, an encourager. Why? Because the coach takes an owner or principal to a higher level of understanding and knowledge to facilitate that individual to act in the best interest of themselves and their companies.
Turnaround coaches, for the most part, are not coaching Fortune 1000 executives – although anything is possible it is highly improbable. If a company is public or revenues exceed $20 million. When the enterprise crashes, usually the “C” level executives are ejected rather quickly from the wreckage. It is interim turnaround managers that normally fill the void.
But for the companies below $5 million in revenues, turnaround coaching facilitates having creditors, lenders and other stakeholders “dance with the one that brung them.” A coach can empower an owner or principal to summon courage, become enlightened, make sea changes, and execute a realistic plan of renewal rather than fail, as most have and likely will in the future.
Coaches tend to offer their services through in-person sessions or virtually. Fees are usually on an hourly or flat rate basis. Consultants may be hourly, daily, flat-rate, project but whatever the rate structure is, they can be considerably more expensive than coaches because leading the turnaround is a fulltime proposition in most cases.
There is a big difference between coaching and consulting. The turnaround consultant is paid to be in the driver’s seat when there is a wreck, and the coach’s role is to empower the current driver to be enlightened, vigilant, knowledgeable and safe, so everything possible to avoid a wreck has been tried. In the end the coach may not be on board, but has nevertheless failed when the client has the accident.
For the smallest of businesses – underserved at best when trouble develops – a coaching option is the best step toward saving their business and living their lives.