Perhaps you aren't looking for any of those. Those of us who continue to grow, expand and learn are constantly looking for ways to improve what we do.

There can be a lot of overlap between those terms and perhaps we aren't always clear on what they mean. Here are my ideas.


We are all familiar with teachers. They help us learn and understand things. Sometimes they help us develop skills. Teachers can vary in depth of training. The elementary school teacher, teaches basic reading, writing and arithmetic. By high school, teachers are more specialized. College professors are more specialized still.


When I think of a coach, I think of someone who is going to tell me how to do something. A coach tells me what I'm doing right and wrong and helps hold me accountable so that I reach my goals. A coach is often someone limited to a specific field of knowledge. My high school football coaches come to mind when I think of coaches. I've also hired coaches to help in in chiropractic practice.


A consultant gives expert advice professionally and is often limited to a specific field of expertise. I was a systems engineer when I worked for IBM. I was a member of the marketing team. I had the same rank as a marketing representative but a different pay structure and my training was more technical in nature.

Marketing representatives and systems engineers reported to a manager. Those managers reported to a branch manager. We had a position titled "consulting systems engineer". That position was on the same level as the branch manager. The "joke" was that the consulting systems engineer reported to the branch manager and told him what to do.

We don't think of consultants as telling us what to do or holding us accountable to arrive at a specific goal. Consultants give advice. What we do with that advice is up to us.

The Overlap

Usually, high school teachers are also the sports coaches. College professors are often hired as consultants to give advice on their particular expertise.

Someone called and wanted to hire me as a consultant. We met for lunch. What he really wanted was an hourly employee without paying payroll taxes. It was an interesting job and would have paid well. That wasn't really me. I wasn't interested.

Another man wanted to hire me as a coach. He wanted help setting and achieving goals. I would call him once a week and hold him accountable. That wasn't really me. I wasn't interested.

I am a teacher. I enjoy teaching business ideas and helping people be successful. The basic concepts apply to nearly all walks of life and everything we do. My first job after the MBA program was with IBM. I've been involved in healthcare for over three decades as a chiropractor. I've been involved in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate agent and helping my son with his construction business.

Because of Who I Am, even more than my education and experience, I can consult with people and quickly have a grasp of their business and some ideas of how to improve. That is how teaching and consulting overlap for me.

How about you? Do you want to be a teacher, coach or consultant? What is your field of expertise? What do you enjoy? Remember that you can change your field to another that you enjoy more. You can learn and grow.

I've provided my life as an example. Think about your life similarly.

We all want teachers, coaches and consultants in various times of our lives. Who we need depends on what we want to accomplish. What do you want to accomplish? Are you looking for a teacher, coach or consultant?

Author's Bio: 

Affolter Academy is for people who like to think. The primary focus is entrepreneurship - management. Articles, books and courses cover business, health, mindset, politics and spirituality.