Today while walking towards the office, I saw this huge hoarding professing that their “councelors” were unique in that they “listened”. Incidently that was a quality of a good consultant as well (or a good leader, husband, etc etc). But what really intruiged me was that I couldn’t clearly differentate between a counselor and a consultant. Time to Google I thought.
The outcome of the searches were very interesting. Firstly, there were some overlap in meaning for eg:
counselor One whose profession is to give advice in law, and manage causes for clients in court; a barrister
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998
con·sul·tant A physician or surgeon who does not take actual charge of a patient, but acts in an advisory capacity to the patient’s primary physician
Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc
After cursory research, I will pretend to have understood and try to explain. A counselor is one who applies his domain expertise (eg: law) into the client situation, whereas a consultant tries to redefine the problem itself and attempt for, perhaps radically, different solutions to enable you reach your goals.
Thus the goals of a counselor and consultant are different. The counselor seeks to give you the best out of a situation. The consultant tries to alter the situation itself keeping in mind your goals and objectives. The latter is clearly more painful and time consuming, but ultimately more rewarding.