In this article, we will explore the differences between Business Coaching and Business Consulting. Some would argue that these are one in the same. There are some distinct differences that make it easy for you to identify whether you need a Business Coach or a consultant… or both!
Business Coaching is a relatively new industry that has boomed in the last 10 years and it is not unusual to find business owners working with a Business Coach. Consulting is an industry that has been in existence a lot longer, and I believe, in some ways, the Business Coaching industry was born from business consulting.
Simply put, a Business Consultant would typically conduct an audit or review of your business or a process in your business and then make recommendations to implement improvements. Business Consultants are usually specialists in a particular area of business or a specific industry. For example, there may be consultants who focus on the finance side of your business or you may hire a consultant to review your plumbing business.
Engaging the services of a Business Consultant is a great way to get something done without you having to be too involved. Consultants typically find a problem, make a recommendation to fix the problem, and then implement the solution to the problem as part of their service. In most cases, you’ll be able to hold the consultant accountable for the results and outcome of the work that was done.
A Business Consultant would normally work with you short-term or on a project to project basis. The downside of using a consultant over working with a Business Coach is that it is unlikely you will be close enough to the project to learn how to repeat the process in the future if required. Meaning that you will need to hire the consultant again should the same problem appear in your business.
On the other hand, if you work with a Business Coach, you will typically work closer together on identifying the problems, creating a plan of action and implementing strategies in your business. The benefit of working with a Business Coach is that you will learn more about your business and become better at identifying issues and creative strategies to improve your business. A business Coach usually does not specialise in one particular area of your business. A coach will have broad knowledge about business-making them a great sounding board.
A Business Coach would normally work with you long-term and help you with many issues within your business. A Business Coach is usually available throughout the duration of your relationship to answer questions and help guide you to the best possible solutions. A Business Coach is not hired for one project, instead, a business Coach will be there to help you with your overall business.
The downside of working with a Business Coach over using a consultant is that it will demand more of your time and will take longer to reach a solution as you’ll need to be involved in identifying problems, developing and implementing strategies and monitoring the progress to make sure these are effective.
How do you know if you need a Business Coach or consultant?
Ask yourself the following seven questions:
- Do I want a Business Coach to teach me how to fix the problem or do I want the problem fixed for me by a specialist?
- Do I have the time to invest in working with a Business Coach or would I prefer to delegate this task to a specialist Business Consultant?
- Is the problem, or problems re-occurring? Will I need to continually engage the services of a consultant or would I be better being coached to learn how to fix the problem(s) myself?
- Am I coachable and willing to work with a Business Coach?
- Does the problem need an urgent fix with the help of specialist? Or do I have time to learn how to fix and manage this without damaging my business?
- Do I want a Business Coach to help with my overall business or a business consultant to fix one particular process or division in my business?
- Do I want a Business Coach to help me long term or a Business Consultant to help me short term?
You may need to consider that working with both is your best solution. Business Coaching and consulting are two very different skill sets and both are needed in your business from time to time. Both services have different outcomes.
If you are trying to decide whether to engage the services of a Business Coach or a Business Consultant, contact us for a Business assessment and will help you make the best possible decision
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About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.