What is a Business Coach and What is a Business Consultant

Imagine you are in the championship football game. Your team is a little lost. They don’t know what play to make next; everyone is in a panic. The Quarterback has a sprained ankle and your playbook has been stolen by the opposing team.  Two figures emerge from the darkness – one is your coach and one is your consultant. You can only choose one to help your team win the game.

Which one do you choose? 

Your immediate thought is the coach, of course. We are talking about sports here. You want the person with experience that knows plays that aren’t even IN the playbook. You want the one who can bandage up that sprained ankle and calm the team down getting them to refocus. Right?

Maybe not. The consultant strides over and tells you that they are the best choice. Sure, your coach has experience and so does your consultant. Your consultant brought an orthopedic surgeon who bandages up the QB’s ankle better,  a sports psychologist who gets your team to embrace the challenge ahead and work more effectively together and, lastly, has calculated the exact wind speed and direction as well as studied your kicker’s accuracy with making a field goal and determined the best course of action would be to go for the 3 point kick. 

So, now who do you choose?

What does a Business Coach do?

 The example may have been simplistic, and to be totally honest we know next to nothing about football, but the premise is the same.  A Coach is the person who has been in the same position as you before and can give you good advice and encouragement but you, nonetheless, have to do all the legwork of winning your game with the resources you have.  For some people, coaching is the ideal solution. Especially if you are a business owner with little real-world experience.   A coach is the person you can lean on when you hit a brick wall of knowledge – they have a map that worked for them and they are more than willing to take your hand and guide you down their path for success.

This may be just what you and your business need. For example. If you are looking to open a gym and you don’t know where to get the best prices on equipment, which insurance carriers are reliable, how to find qualified workers for your gym ; a coach who has opened successful gyms is just the person to help you navigate the waters. Just feeling frustrated or frightened? A business coach can help encourage you and empathize with how you are feeling. They can help you set your sails and be more successful. 


What does a Business Consultant do?

Sometimes you don’t know where to begin. Imagine you want to open a gym but you don’t know if there is a market for a gym.  What about Gym Marketing?  What About franchising your gym across the country? What if your gym is experiencing massive growth – how do you determine when it’s time to expand? What if your gym isn’t growing and you need to know it’s time to call it quits. 

This is where a Business consultant can be much more useful than a coach. A consultant doesn’t do the hand holding that a coach does. They look at a business, or a perspective business, and they analyse.  They call in experts you may not have known you needed, they formulate a plan of action. Now you’ll know what you didn’t know before ( or didn’t even know you needed to know).  A consultant may be called for in stages – prelaunch, launch, etc… You may have a consultant on a specific project only – like modernizing your business technology or streamlining business processes. 


How to get Value from a Business Coach or Consultant

 Whichever you choose – Business Consultant or Business Coach be sure you use due diligence in selecting one that will actually benefit your business and not just shake  pom-poms in your face from the sidelines. 

Be sure your coach or consultant is a good fit – a free consultation will help determine if you are a good match. You’ll be revealing a lot of sensitive business information and if you don’t feel comfortable, keep looking for a better match.

Verify Experience – It seems like people are baristas one minute and business coaches the next. This area is rife with imposters. Be sure the coach has experience in business. 

Don’t buy large packages initially – Desperate business owners will shell out thousands of dollars to someone with “the answers“; be cautious and start small. You’ll know quickly if you are getting what you pay for. 

Once you have cleared the hurdles mentioned above, the best way to get the most value from a business coach or consultant is to be open, be teachable, be willing to change. Coaches and Consultants are not judging you.  Many business owners balk when a coach or consultant starts pointing out weaknesses in a business or strategy. Remember you asked them for help – take it!