Seth Godin, in a post on his blog entitled “A shortage of digital coaches,” describes the absence of a certain type of individual – a digital coach. His thesis is that there are a large number of individuals and small businesses using an increasing array of digital technology that could be getting a much better return on their investment.
He posits that there is a huge market for people with the skills to “hear what you do and how you do it and then show you how to do it better.” He goes on to give examples, describing these digital coaches as “People who organize data and put it in the right place” and “People who overhaul the way small groups use technology so they can use it dramatically better.”
If such people existed and they were to charge $100 per hour -- or some set amount per day -- for their services, could they be considered true consultants? I think the answer is yes. Certainly the good ones would be more than temporary help, more than contractors. To be effective, these individuals would use both issues-based and solution-based consulting skills to move their clients further along the digital competency continuum.
Are these digital coaches around? Sure, but finding them and vetting them doesn’t seem to me to be an easy task at the present time. Simply having technology skills does not automatically equate to having consulting skills. In an effort to help make the desired connections, Seth has set up a Squidoo group for digital coaches.
Being both a consultant and small business owner, I’m intrigued by the possibility of bringing these skills to the marketplace in a rational manner. Is this a natural extension for The Geek Squad or Firedog, or are they already providing such services?
Finally, is this something the larger consulting firms might consider in an effort to provide a “starter service” to small businesses to get them familiar with their range consulting services – and hopefully turn them into long term customers?