Teaching and consulting are two distinct activities that are often confused. Teaching is when a manager models, guides practice, observes practice, and gives feedback on performance. It is appropriate when someone has a skill or knowledge gap. Consulting, on the other hand, involves asking guiding questions, giving advice and co-creating solutions.
It is appropriate when someone needs a thinking partner to help solve problems. From the customer's point of view, training provides the tools to make decisions. It allows employees to have the skills and knowledge base to communicate and work with customers effectively. Educational consultants act as advisors, reviewing how teachers and districts carry out their educational processes and making suggestions for better ways to accomplish those tasks.
They can also do a broader review, looking for problems across the spectrum to find issues that current administrators hadn't detected yet. They can create long-term strategic plans to modify the course of a district or modify curriculum standards. Consulting with your employees shows if the training you offer them works based on their knowledge and skills about their work and the company's products and services. The main difference between coaching and consulting is that coaching draws answers from the client, while the consultant tells them what to do. Understanding this is important because coaching produces significant and lasting changes in the short and long term, where consulting generally produces short term answers to a specific problem.
It is important for a customer to have an employee who is versed in consulting when they want to know the pros and cons of the product and what that could mean compared to the other product they are considering. Consulting can improve teaching and learning; teachers can often come up with great ideas to implement them immediately in their classroom. To become an effective educational consultant, one must have at least a two-year master's degree in education or a related field. You can also take steps such as joining IECA, the Association of Independent Educational Consultants, which has membership standards that should reassure potential clients of their skills and standards. Most educational consultants work for school districts or universities, but some can be hired directly by families. Consultants are the conduit through which much of this knowledge is transferred from the technology sector to school systems.
Before choosing between teaching and consulting, it is important to understand how their activities and skills are very similar yet distinct.