What does a Consultant do?

It’s a question I hear from my clients. The answer needs to be put in simple terms. It’s like asking what the difference is between a Doctor and Surgeon. There are differences on how consultant and advisors approach their work.

Advisors identify issues (or tasks in general) before they become a problem and share their opinion and insight with the stakeholders. They raise their concern in an adequate way and help to address work items in order to clear out the “threat” of not engaging in this particular activity. The advisors usually decides on their own how much of their own time they invest in the activities, based on the issues severity.

Further Learning

When I started work in the newly established “Professional Services” team and lays down a great framework about the good practices of advisory work. It splits up into client relationship management, professional services and a guideline to being a trusted advisor.

If you have not already read it, I strongly recommend all consultants and advisors alike to check this out. Also – if you are a service provider of another nature, reading this will also greatly help you augment your advisory senses and maybe it allows you to even further your career based on practices described in this book.

I would be delighted about any kind of feedback around this in the comments section below. I understand if you don’t agree on my definition here, but please be so kind and explain your thoughts in a few sentences.


So in a compact format, what is the difference between a consultant and an advisor?

  • Consultants act retroactive, advisors act proactive
  • Both consultants and advisors can be either external or internal
  • Consultants have functional roles, advisors are usually part of the leadership
  • Consultants are usually hands-on problem solvers, advisors lay out the plan and explain necessity
  • Consultants usually work with sponsors or stakeholders and not with advisors directly
  • There is no difference in the quality of work about these two roles, they do different work