Many entrepreneurs have heard their colleagues talk about business coaches, but may not know exactly what a business coach is. Or, people often hear about business coaches and business consultants but do not have a clear idea of the differences. Both have important roles in helping businesses achieve their potential, but there are important distinctions between the two. Both a business coach and a consultant can be beneficial for your business. It is important, however, to know which is right for you. Their differences consist of unique approaches and a distinct focus, which we will explore below.
As we go through the qualities of business consultants and coaches, keep in mind your own needs and which would best suit your company.
What Does a Business Coach Do?
A business coach can help guide you as you run your business. Business coaches do this by helping you clarify your business’s mission in the context of your goals. In other words, business coaches see what you want to do with your business and then help you figure out how to get there. The role of a business coach is exactly that: to coach you as you work toward goals and work out plans.
Business coaches help you build actionable plans. That means that they work with you to develop clear, specific goals that you will work toward to reach your business’s potential. They will also help you develop strategies to best reach your goals. Business coaches bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that most entrepreneurs simply do not have. This knowledge and experience come from a deep study of business and their prior work helping businesses like yours.
Business coaches also help you build accountability for your business. While they are dedicated to helping your business soar, they do none of the work for you. It is up to you to implement your strategies to reach your goals. Part of their role in holding you accountable is helping you see your business from the inside out. Business coaches help you figure out if your short-term goals are realistic or need to be tweaked. They also show you where your business has room for improvement and help you see which areas need urgent attention.
Coaches track your progress using key performance metrics (KPIs). These are specific metrics that show you and the coach how your business is performing. Coaches leave no stone unturned when considering your business’s performance, highlighting qualities you may never have considered and looking in places you may be afraid to check.
A good business coach will check in to see how things are going pretty regularly. This could be once a week or once a month, depending on the coach’s style and your preferences. These check-ins help you stay on the right track and work out any kinks in the plan. To sump up, a solid business coach is one of the best tools in any entrepreneur’s toolkit.
What Does a Business Consultant Do?
Business consultants, at first glance, seem to have a lot of overlap with coaches. Consultants also want to help your business succeed and reach its goals. However, while a business coach focuses on individuals (usually the business owner), a consultant works more directly with teams of employees, boards, departments, procedures, and policies. While coaches can have fewer direct effects on profits, consultants’ work can be easily tracked directly through your profits.
Consultants also tend to specialize in certain areas of business. For example, there is a growing need for IT business consultants to help companies manage their digital infrastructure. Business consultants could be specialists in management, strategy, operations, human resources, and more. Business consultants will manage these aspects of your business for you, taking the pressure off your finite resources.
Whether you pick a business coach or a consultant, both will help you determine how you will improve your business and what changes will be implemented. As you can see there is some overlap in their roles, but also some key differences. Both business coaches and consultants can help you figure out if your company needs financing.
What Do You Need for Your Business?
Whether you hire a consultant or a coach, neither will become your employee. They will work both inside and outside your business, so they receive fees instead of salaries. The two differ in focus and approach, as well as skill sets. Both will give you a fresh perspective and a new brain to pick for ideas.
Your choice of who to hire has to be based on your needs. Often, newer entrepreneurs need a business coach to help motivate them or keep them confident in uncharted territory. Larger businesses or those that have been around a bit longer often benefit most from consultants. They may not need or be able to hire more employees for certain regular tasks, so consultants are an appealing option. Whichever a business owner hires, they almost always benefit from the fresh perspective and new ideas brought to the table.
Do you need motivation, clear-headedness, and help to integrate your business into your life? If so, a business coach may be the best fit for you. Would you like to improve specific processes, departments, operations, or your bottom line? Then, you should consider hiring a business consultant.
So, there you have it. Business coaches are often a great fit for entrepreneurs just getting started or going through rough waters. They can help keep you focused and on track. Business consultants are a great boost to business productivity and profit margins, and there are a diverse number of specialties to suit every business. Which one you will choose is entirely up to you, just remember to consider your own particular needs.
At Camino Financial we take pride in helping small businesses just like yours achieve new heights. “No business left behind” is our mission and we live to help small businesses thrive. We go beyond financing businesses to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to grow their companies and improve their bottom line. Subscribe to our free newsletter to continue your business education with weekly articles and tips that you can implement right away in your own company.