Business Coach vs. Business Consultant – Which One Do You Need?
What’s your biggest challenge in business? There’s always at least one issue that holds the whole business back, whether it’s poor sales, employee problems, or something even more personal.
There’s nothing wrong with getting help from an outside expert—but you need to figure out what kind of help you need, whether you need a business coach or a business consultant, as both follow different practices with contrasting approaches.
Owners, leaders, managers, and employees of small businesses can get help from business coaches and consultants in different areas and functions of the business operations. Both can offer growth, stability, and efficiency solutions, but which one do you need for your business?
So, while trying to answer the question, do you need a business coach or a business consultant, it’s necessary to analyze your business needs and requirements. A good question to ask yourself:
“Do I need a solid action plan created in place to be executed, or do I need an expert who serves as a useful guide for me helping me create a needed action plan and who supports me along my journey?”
Choosing between a coach and a consultant could be a real struggle, especially if you are unaware of key differences and their roles. But we will define every difference to help you better decide on the one that will suit your business needs.
What Do Business Coaches Do?
Business coaches are like mentors. A coach’s job is to help you reach your goals by educating, supporting, and keeping you accountable. Business coaches help you prioritize and implement strategies to make better, faster decisions – creating momentum for your business. They’ll assess your strengths and weaknesses throughout your business journey and guide you toward better outcomes.
A business coach will help you step back and look at your business as a whole, without getting caught up in the daily crunch. With the right tools, your coach can get you closer to your goals, more focused, and with better results.
A coach helps people improve their skills, usually business owners and other leaders. As time goes on, they get closer to you and are even more effective in helping you make the right decisions. If you have a coach by your side, you’ll accomplish more, faster than if you did it alone or sporadically.
Whether you are in the startup phase, growth phase, stability phase, or exit phase, a great small business coach will have experience throughout this entire journey and navigate your road with you, because they have lived it themselves.
What Do Consultants Do?
Businesses can hire consultants to help them solve problems, reorganize, revamp, educate, influence, or create. Consultants should bring passion and a drive for excellence to every mission with such big responsibilities.
Consultants usually have a lot of experience with a particular subject and give technical and professional advice to their clients. Businesses and other leaders can hire consultants to help solve specific problems. Their job is to analyze the current situation and figure out what you should do next. A consultant performs assessments, gathers data, creates business plans, and executes projects. They create a strong action plan to execute and bring the desired results.
They’ll make sure to implement a comprehensive strategy or address a specific issue. Consulting generally provides businesses with solutions and improves their performance.
Some things they help with:
- Strategic Planning
- Project management
- Change management
- Systems and process improvement
What Is The Difference Between A Business Coach And A Business Consultant?
When considering a business coach vs. a business consultant, there are key components to how each goes about their specific role in helping you and your business achieve success.
Business Coaches and Consultants have different approaches to solving problems.
With a coach, you’ll discover and uncover the solution to your specific challenges. They will help you clear your own path to accomplishing something. They will help you see gaps in your thinking and allow you the space to think about and develop sustainable courses of action. They will develop and sharpen your own skills in problem-solving so that you can apply those skills in similar scenarios on your own.
A consultant will provide you with solutions to your challenges. They will use their own subject matter expertise to teach you how to do something specific. They often do an in-depth and detailed analysis of the specific challenge at hand. They will provide you with this information and will devise and develop a detailed strategy to execute. A big chunk of their value lies in their ability to diagnose effectively and recommend specific actions.
Focus and Efficiency
Coaches and consultants also vary greatly in the areas on which they focus when they are helping you achieve your goals.
A consultant solves your business’s problems by finding, analyzing, and solving your problems while applying their skill and subject expertise. Consultants apply their skills to you for resolving your challenges.
A coach generally will focus on you and your overall development, and in turn helps you solve the problems your business faces, achieving success. A coach is good at working with you to capitalize on your strengths and guide you through powering up your weaknesses.
The Benefit of working with a coach means you will develop new skills as an asset that you can apply to similar challenges in the future. It takes time to learn a new skill, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a bit longer but learning and developing a skill is never a quick process. Over time, you build on top of all these developed skillsets to further sharpen your development into a successful business owner. A coach helps you get better and be more successful. They can also work closely with the company’s leadership team to identify areas where growth opportunities exist and provide guidance on how to implement those changes successfully.
A coach can help you make better decisions faster by guiding you through the process of making choices. They will help you understand what options are available and then help you choose the option that will benefit you and your business the most. A small business coach allows you to develop mastery of business ownership.
Working with a consultant is great because you can tap into their expertise and get a solution fast. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is solved, you’ll know what to do more quickly. There’s always the implementation of your detailed strategy to consider.
A consultant usually won’t have the breadth of knowledge and experience as a coach will, but they will certainly be a specialist for a particular challenge. A business coach will stay with you much longer while a subject matter expert (SME) consultant comes and goes in your business. You can get a business coach to help you figure out if and when you need a consultant! They can even help you choose the right consultant. You can look at a business coach as a true business partner as a business owner.
Take an Example
Let’s use a chiropractor as an example. This chiropractor wants to increase their digital presence with a website that converts visitors to patients and has more social media presence. This chiropractor could engage with a coach and learn how to build a website that converts visitors to patients and increase social media presence.
Or the chiropractor could hire an experienced consultant to get the converting website up and increase their social media presence with messaging, posting schedules, and funnels more quickly.
In this scenario, a consultant is done once the digital assets are built. A coach may stay with you to help you develop newly needed skills, like hiring the right office staff, improving time management skills, better managing cash flow, etc.
Choosing a Coach vs. Consultant
(Or just do it yourself!)
Hiring a consultant is the right way to go when you need something specific done quickly and don’t have the time to invest but have the money.
When you are looking to develop yourself and your business, while gaining a highly experienced partner to journey down the road with you, a business coach will be the right option for you and your business.
In a nutshell, a consultant will solve a specific problem in a shorter amount of time, and a coach will solve the same problem in a more extended period as they solve it with you vs. for you.
As a coach solves the problem with you, you are also developing the skillset that will allow you to solve the problem more effectively on your own in the future.
At Denver Business Coach, we do try to purposefully blend the lines between “coach” and “consultant.” We can recognize which hat to put on, in that should we be creating a learning environment or be providing tactical steps for improvement. This comes on a case-by-case basis, and our experts are trained to realize which hat to wear when. One great assessment we use is our Value Builder Assessment which allows business owners to get an estimated valuation assessment of their business today. This helps us create benchmarks, priority lists, and action plans to help us get our clients to the goal of having an owner independent business!