Business owners and managers are a competent group, but no one can keep up with everything in today’s fast-paced environment. Sometimes hiring a professional to get you up to speed is the smartest, quickest, least-expensive choice you can make.
Business consultants and coaches are frequent support most leaders choose. These specialists are known to provide expertise and assistance for business stability and growth. But which one do you need?
Deciding between a business consultant vs. business coach comes down to analyzing your needs. Do you need someone to create an action plan for you or guide you on the journey to designing one on your own?
Because the lines between consultants and coaches often get blurred, let’s define each and note the key differences to help you decide which suits your situation best.
What Do Business Consultants Do?
Business consultants are usually experts in a particular subject matter and give technical and professional advice to clients. Consulting mostly comes down to helping leaders solve business challenges and problems. Consultants, therefore, analyze the situation and devise the best course of action for your business to take on a cost-benefit basis. They may:
- Gather information regarding your situation
- Perform an initial assessment
- Create detailed business plans
- Organize and execute projects
Business consultants do well at hands-on problem-solving. They can successfully devise and implement an overall strategy or address a particular issue.
What Do Business Coaches Do?
Business coaches are mentors. Their role is to support, educate, and motivate you. An effective business coach will also advise you on implementing and prioritizing strategies. Business coaches:
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses
- Guide you
- Monitor your progress
Business coaching is good for business owners who enjoy doing everything themselves but need advice about direction.
Business Consultant vs. Business Coach — 4 Key Differences
Here are the four key differences between professionals who consult and coach business owners:
Approach to the Solution
The fundamental difference between a consultant and a coach is in the approach. The former provides solutions while the latter guides you through discovering solutions. Consultants will use their knowledge and expertise to teach you how to do something, and coaches will help you unveil the path to doing something.
Consultants specialize in finding, analyzing, and solving your business problems. Coaches generally focus on you and your overall development.
Coaches are good at working with you to capitalize on your strengths and guide you through powering up your weaknesses. Consultants have already developed the skills through education and experience. They apply their skills to you for resolving problems.
Coaching can take time if your coach has to guide you through understanding a problem and then implementing a process. A consultant will quickly determine your best course of action and then implement it or guide you through implementation.
Let’s take a baker as an example. A baker wanting to market pies on the internet could engage a coach and learn how to build a website and a social media presence, set up a payment processor, do online advertising, and figure out the packaging and delivery. Or the baker could hire an experienced consultant to set it all up quickly.
Choosing the Right Support for Your Business
Deciding on a business consultant vs. business coach is all about analyzing your business needs. If your situation requires hands-on work or a done-for-you solution, you need a professional business consultant. If you lack a mentor to advise and guide you, go with a coach.