Which one is for you?
With the growing challenges and uncertainty of doing business in the COVID-19 era, many businesses are turning to business consultants or business coaches for help. As someone with business acumen and experience, you may be considering a career as a coach or a consultant to guide businesses in improving their performance and help them achieve their objectives.
As a coach or a consultant, you have the opportunity to run your own business with the flexibility to work your own hours, choose the clients you want to work with and apply your expertise to help other businesses to succeed. But, what is the difference between a coach and a consultant? And, to which role are you best suited?
What does a business consultant do?
Business consultants are professionals, with specialised expertise in certain aspects of business. They will analyse a business to identify inefficiencies in systems, processes and human resources to create solutions to problems and develop strategies to help organizations to meet their goals.
Consultants generally bring their own methodologies or frameworks to guide a business and recommend how to achieve goals more effectively and efficiently. They will identify tasks that need to be performed in line with the business’ objectives and may even complete projects on behalf of clients.
Companies will typically commission a business consultant with specific expertise to help them tackle problems and shortfalls in their business structure. For instance, depending on their needs, a company may employ a marketing consultant to bolster their in-house marketing team to develop a more effective marketing plan, or to bring onboard marketing skills that they do not have in house. Business consultants are also called in to assist companies with team and morale building, and change management after a merger or acquisition.
What is the role of a business coach?
A business coach helps business owners to clarify their vision for their business, and then plan and prioritise the goals and strategies that are needed to drive their business closer to that vision. An effective business coach focuses on helping clients to increase the profitability, efficiency and overall success of their clients’ businesses.
The International Coaching Federation defines business coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Business coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring, or training.”
Business owners turn to a coach because they are looking for someone to show them a proven path and to provide them with the steps and guidance to grow their business. A business coach meets with the business owner regularly to keep them on track to the commitments they made in their coaching sessions.
Business consulting versus business coaching
One of the main differences between a business consultant and a business coach is that a coach nurtures and inspires accountability. They will help their clients to define their vision for their business, set goals to move their business and themselves towards that vision, and track their progress. But, they will not do the work for them. Business owners are made accountable for every action that needs to be taken. There is a high degree of collaboration between a coach and the business owner. The process is open and transparent.
Business consultants will identify areas needing improvement, recommend solutions to problems and create an action plan to guide the business in meeting its objectives in a specific area whether it be marketing, human resources or digital transformation. Consultants may supplement skills gaps in the organisation on specific projects or provide management consulting to complement and support an in-house team. They may even action some of the tasks but they will not hold the business or its people accountable for accomplishing those tasks.
Which one is for you?
The decision whether to pursue a career as a business coach or a business consultant depends on a few factors such as your level of experience, specialization, your qualifications, your personality and importantly, how you see yourself working with clients.
Where do you stack up the most ticks?
Business Coach Business Consultant
Generalist Specialist in a specific field
Sees the bigger picture Detail orientated
Enjoy mentoring and Teach or train people in skills
guiding others they do not have
Experience in running or Experience in a specific aspect
managing a business of business
Help business owners to look Identify problems and
for and create solutions to their recommend solutions
Focuses on the individual Focuses on systems, processes
Places value in building long Short term projects and
term relationships contracts
Helps business owners to achieve both Focuses on remedying a specific
professional and personal goals problem or business objective
Highly collaborative approach Consultative approach
Time to develop clients’ IP In and out depending on terms
and requirements of the project
Business coaching is for you if…
You want to help other people grow. Business coaching is about helping other people make a success out of their businesses. In turn, your business will be successful. It also requires patience, empathy, diligence and work. What you put in, is what you get out. The greatest reward however is seeing your clients realise their dreams.
To be a great business coach, you should be:
1. Experienced in business
2. An active listener
3. Passionate about people
4. A strong communicator
5. Goal orientated and organised
6. Accessible and approachable
9. Strategic and analytical
10. A good motivator
By joining an established and recognised coaching franchise, network or franchise, you get the value and credibility that comes with it. The more prominent the brand you are associated with, the greater the gains will be in terms of exposure and credibility.
ActionCOACH is the world’s number one business coaching franchise with more than 25 years of experience. When you become an ActionCOACH, you are instantly part of an established, credible and trusted community of business coaching experts. The training is unparalleled, the ongoing support is unmatched and the access to the library of ActionCOACH’s proven systems and processes will set up your coaching business for success and put you ahead of the competition.