I tend to work with a lot of counselors, consultants and advisors (or advisers, depending on where they are from).
And I call myself a new media consultant.
For some reason, writing the bios made me think about why we choose the words we use when describing what we do for a living. (It also made me think that I should take a look at my own bio to make sure it’s up to date. First things first.)
Thinking about it, the acts of advising, consulting and counseling are really the same thing. It’s the perceptions we attach to the words themselves that affects how and when we use them and how we react to those words when we hear them.
For example, one person told me that consultants trade time for money and do the work, while advisers simply advise and lead the client to do the work themselves. Yet, when people think of counselors, they think of couches and courtrooms.
I decided to look up the official definition of each word. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines advisers, consultants and counselors:
ad·vis·er or ad·vi·sor (d-vzr) n.
1. One that advises, such as a person or firm that offers official or professional advice to clients.
2. An educator who advises students in academic and personal matters.
con·sul·tant (kn-sltnt) n.
1. One who gives expert or professional advice.
2. One who consults another.
coun·sel·or also coun·sel·lor (kouns-lr, -slr) n.
1. A person who gives counsel; an adviser.
Pretty much the same thing all around. Each helps an individual to reach goals by providing the tools and knowledge to help get them there.
Does it matter what language we use when defining what we do for a living? Do you expect a consultant to charge more than an advisor?
Maybe I’m just overthinking the semantics. Feel free to chime in.
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