What is the difference between a Business Coach and a Business Consultant?

“There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching. As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act. The kind of coaches I am talking about will do more than influence behaviors; they will be an essential part of the leader’s learning process, providing knowledge, opinions, and judgment in critical areas. These coaches will be retired CEOs or other experts from universities, think tanks, and government.” Havard Business Report

 What is the difference between a Business Coach and a Business Consultant?

Business Coach

  • A coach is someone who works on bringing out the best of what you or your business are. Coaches usually work one-on-one with business owners or management to create more than just a better business. In general, they are life, lifestyle, and business coaches – someone who sees everything in a holistic way and works to better you rather than your business.This might seem hokey to some, but it's a highlight of how much a part of our lives our business usually is. In fact, most successful small business owners are married to their business just as they might be to a spouse.A coach's job is to encourage, support, motivate, and inspire. They find what isn't working with your life and look for ways to fix them. Quite often, business coaches are a relatively permanent fixture for a business, becoming a part of the business owner's or manager's overall team
  • Works on a one-to-one basis; may coach more than one person in an organization, individually
  • Supports the client to achieve her or his own result or outcome
  • Builds on the client's strengths
  • Enables the client to solve problems or change things for the better
  • Coach brings relationship expertise to support the client's solutions
  • A focus on individual and interpersonal dynamics supports behavior change
  • Facilitates growth
  • Occurs over a period of time that generally involves renewable contracts; focused on long-term results
  • Promotes self-discovery
  • Values-based goal setting
  • Maximizes client's commitment to implement solutions

Business Consultant

  • A consultant, on the other hand, is a business expert and usually works closely with ownership and management. They are interested in all aspects of the business from the janitor to the CEO. They are usually focused on on aspect of the business: manufacturing, marketing, business models, online presence, social marketing, etc.The primary job of the consultant is to teach and suggest direction for specific aspects of the business. Just as you likely outsource your business card printing to someone, you outsource your “fresh perspective” to consultants. They bring an outside view that you cannot get otherwise.Consultants are usually temporary. Brought in for something specific and then, at most, occasionally called in later to maintain or recheck what they've done.
  • Even when one person is the main client contact, the consultant usually works with more than one person, often in a team, group, board, or department
  • Structures projects for specific deliverable or result, which the consultant is primarily responsible for
  • Usually problem-focused, i.e., identifies and tries to correct problems or weaknesses
  • Regarded as the “expert” who will solve problems (the magic bullet)
  • Consultant brings technical expertise to advise on solutions
  • If behavior change is needed, consultant generally does not get involved in it
  • Gathers data and reports on what needs to be done
  • Time-limited; generally short-term and project-oriented results
  • Provides information
  • Goals generally related to programs and funding
  • Requires limited commitment from client to implement

A management consultant typically has their own team, and works with the client's management team to achieve whatever they were brought in for (the business objective).

According to this study by the Harvard business review: Coaches typically work one on one with a client to help them increase their potential or facilitate a transition.

Management consultants work on projects with predetermined end dates, where as coaches use their own methodologies to determine whether the contract will be or temporary or ongoing . (the study sated typical duration was between 7 and 12 months)

Both groups have similar goals such as: improving the client condition, and transferring skills and education.

Use a business coach if:

  • You want someone to keep you accountable
  • You seek objective advice
  • You want someone to push you outside of your comfort zone.

Use a management consultant if:

  • You are looking to have a specific project completed.
  • You are trying to improve the overall performance of your business
  • You want to reduce risk and protect your business
  • You want to create change in areas like: IT, Strategic direction or human resources.

The most important factor when choosing a coach or consultant outside is the relationship between both parties.

Obviously you need to know: “Are they qualified and capable to help me with what I need”

At the end of the day, you have to like and trust the people who you are working with. You need to trust them with intimate details of your life and business so they can help you move forward.

Business Coaching Tasks

Click here to find out what a business coach can do for you

A Business Coach Typically will help with talking through the following tasks and concerns

Leadership

  • Life Balance
  • Creativity and Change
  • Developing Your Organization
  • Attitude Development
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Goal Accomplishment

Strategic Planning

  • Strategy Development
  • Internal and External Assessments
  • Converting Strategy into Action
  • Establishing Measurable and Attainable Goals
  • Attaining Results

Management

  • Self-Awareness
  • Do More with Less
  • Developing Your Team While Meeting Your Daily Challenges
  • Behavior Management Skills
  • Improving Team work

Customer Service and Loyalty

  • A Strategic Approach
  • The Competitive Advantage
  • Optimizing Points of Connection
  • Leveraging Your Customer Relationships
  • Instituting a Culture of Customer Loyalty

Sales Business Development

  • The Sales Development Process
  • Building Attitudes for Positive Results
  • Prospecting
  • Maximizing Referrals
  • Communication Skills & Effectiveness
  • Effective Questioning Techniques

Time Strategies

  • Getting Organized
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency
  • Stress Management
  • Planning and Priorities
  • Accelerated Goal Accomplishment
  • Time-Conscious Attitudes

Goal Setting and Achievement

  • Goal Definition and Identification
  • Goal Setting Process
  • Overcoming Roadblocks
  • Planning and Accomplishment
  • Annual Goals Review

Diagnostics / Assessments (Individual and Organizational)

  • Improve Alignment of Resources with Goals
  • Better Utilize Limited Resources
  • Enhanced Organizational Effectiveness
  • Improving Teamwork

Both coaches and consultants are paid fees rather than salaries. Neither are an employee of the business. The primary difference is approach and focus. Coaches are focused on individuals, consultants on processes, teams, or another aspect of the business. Coaches tend to have less tangible effects on profits and balance books while consultants usually have direct, easily-tracked effects on the bottom line. Both coaches and consultants offer a fresh, outsider's perspective on the business that can be invaluable on its own.

Which you hire depends on your needs. Many business owners, especially when starting out or when facing uncertainty, need coaching. Many others need something specific done to get to the next level, but see no need or don't have the budget to hire an employee to get that job done – so they get a consultant. In both cases, the business might just need a fresh perspective for a while

Every business is unique We offer a hybrid of coaching and consulting services. Every business is unique.

We offer a free initial consultation to help us both discover if we are a good match