With the growing challenges and uncertainty of doing business in the COVID-19 era, many businesses are turning to business consultants or business coaches for help. As someone with business acumen and experience, you may be considering a career as a coach or a consultant to guide businesses in improving their performance and help them achieve their objectives.
As a business coach or a consultant, you have the opportunity to run your own business with the flexibility to work your own hours, choose the clients you want to work with and apply your expertise to help other businesses to succeed. But, what is the difference between a business coach and a consultant? And, to which role are you best suited?
What does a business consultant do?
Business consultants are professionals, with specialized expertise in certain aspects of business. They will analyze a business to identify inefficiencies in systems, processes and human resources to create solutions to problems and develop strategies to help organizations to meet their goals.
Consultants generally bring their own methodologies or frameworks to guide a business and recommend how to achieve goals more effectively and efficiently. They will identify tasks that need to be performed in line with the business’ objectives and may even complete projects on behalf of clients.
Companies will typically commission a business consultant with specific expertise to help them tackle problems and shortfalls in their business structure. For instance, depending on their needs, a company may employ a marketing consultant to bolster their in-house marketing team to develop a more effective marketing plan, or to bring onboard marketing skills that they do not have in house. Business consultants are also called in to assist companies with team and morale building, and change management after a merger or acquisition.
What is the role of a business coach?
A business coach helps business owners to clarify their vision for their business, and then plan and prioritize the goals and strategies that are needed to drive their business closer to that vision. An effective business coach focuses on helping clients to increase the profitability, efficiency and overall success of their clients’ businesses.
The International Coaching Federation defines business coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Business coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring, or training.”
Business owners turn to a coach because they are looking for someone to show them a proven path and to provide them with the steps and guidance to grow their business. A business coach meets with the business owner regularly to keep them on track to the commitments they made in their coaching sessions.
Growth targets and goals should well-documented so that both sides are on the same page. Franchisors should also work continuously to enhance systems and control across the network and ensure that franchisees are meeting key performance indicators. After all, a franchise is only as good as its franchisees.
When franchisees understand the goals and can see the value in being part of the network, they are more likely to strive for growth. Franchisees that are engaged and continue to grow will not only benefit themselves, but the entire franchise network.
Business consulting versus business coaching
One of the main differences between a business consultant and a business coach is that a coach nurtures and inspires accountability. They will help their clients to define their vision for their business, set goals to move their business and themselves towards that vision, and track their progress. But, they will not do the work for them. Business owners are made accountable for every action that needs to be taken. There is a high degree of collaboration between a coach and the business owner. The process is open and transparent.
Business consultants will identify areas needing improvement, recommend solutions to problems and create an action plan to guide the business in meeting its objectives in a specific area whether it be marketing, human resources or digital transformation. Consultants may supplement skills gaps in the organization on specific projects or provide management consulting to complement and support an in-house team. They may even action some of the tasks but they will not hold the business or its people accountable for accomplishing those tasks.
Which one is for you?
The decision whether to pursue a career as a business coach or a business consultant depends on a few factors such as your level of experience, specialization, your qualifications, your personality and importantly, how you see yourself working with clients.
Where do you stack up the most ticks?
- Enjoy mentoring and guiding others
- Experience in running or managing a business
- Help business owners to look for and create solutions to their problems
- Focuses on the individual
- Places value in building long term relationships
- Helps business owners to achieve both professional and personal goals
- Highly collaborative approach
- Time to develop clients’ IP
- Specialist in a specific field
- Detail orientated
- Teach or train people in skills they do not have
- Experience in a specific aspect of business
- Identify problems and recommend solutions
- Focuses on systems, processes and teams
- Short term projects and contracts
- Focuses on remedying a specific problem or business objective
- Consultative approach
- In and out depending on terms and requirements of the project
Business coaching is for you if…
You want to help other people grow. Business coaching is about helping other people make a success out of their businesses. In turn, your business will be successful. It also requires patience, empathy, diligence and work. What you put in, is what you get out. The greatest reward however is seeing your clients realize their dreams.
To be a great business coach, you should be:
- Experienced in business
- An active listener
- Passionate about people
- A strong communicator
- Goal orientated and organized
- Accessible and approachable
- Strategic and analytical
- A good motivator
Start strong with ActionCOACH Ireland
By joining an established and recognized coaching franchise, network or franchise, you get the value and credibility that comes with it. The more prominent the brand you are associated with, the greater the gains will be in terms of exposure and credibility.
ActionCOACH Ireland is the Ireland’s number one business coaching franchise with more than 20 years of experience. When you become an ActionCOACH, you are instantly part of an established, credible and trusted community of business coaching experts. The training is unparalleled, the ongoing support is unmatched and the access to the library of ActionCOACH’s proven systems and processes will set up your coaching business for success and put you ahead of the competition.