Something I am often asked, and an area where there can be much confusion is what is the difference between a coach and consultant? Are you a coach or consultant? The lines between the two are a little blurred, and probably this article demonstrates why that is.
Business owners continually call upon external expertise for their businesses, whether that is marketing, sales, or technology related, or indeed any areas of the business that require improvements and need the expertise of a third-party organisation or individual to do so. Business coaching and consulting are typical interactions, and a high proportion of business owners will call upon this type of expertise throughout their career, indeed some absolutely swear by the positive effects a form of mentorship has on them personally, but also on the business.
I read quite recently that the best help you can get is from an individual who can provide coaching and consultancy in equal and collective measures. To optimise the outcome, I can certainly understand this, and that is exactly why I integrate coaching and consultancy with my clients.
The two perfectly correlate and collectively work together to build businesses. So, what are the differences, and how does a business coach work in comparison to a consultant, and why I feel it is absolutely crucial to provide a complete coaching and consultancy service?
A business coach…
Business coaches tend to work on the belief system of the individual. It is about building confidence, focus, limiting distraction, fear and any lack of motivation. The outcome of coaching is to create a vision for the business that is built on the fundamentals that create a successful business owner. If your belief system is clouded, or you have fear of the unknown, or indeed your current state of mind means a lack of confidence, this can be extremely damaging to the success of your business. You may have a fabulous business with huge opportunities ahead of you, but you personally hold that business back from achieving.
A business coach is there to diminish the fears an owner might have, and put a clear path in front of the owner. If you make a comparison to a sports coach, the business coach version is doing very much the same. A coach focuses on you, and how you can become the successful person you have envisioned for yourself and realise YOUR true potential.
A business consultant…
A business consultant will work on the more technical aspects of the business, and lean towards planning and strategy. A consultant will analyse the financial aspects of the business, putting in place a position of complete transparency or clarity around the businesses current trading situation. The consultant will potentially open up new revenue streams or areas where profit opportunities have been missed or not realised.
The consultant’s role is much more analytical, and will spend a great deal of time putting in place financial and operational tools that help the owner clearly see how the business performs, where it should be focusing on, and how to exploit opportunities going forward.
Combining the two skill sets
I personally don’t see the benefits of isolating these two very important aspects of building a successful business. You can be hugely confident, and have true clarity in where YOU want your business to be, but without the ‘actuals’, or analysis of the businesses performance, and potentially unlocking new areas of growth, you are a confident, ambitious and a willing business person who doesn’t have the complete set of tools needed to maximize opportunity going forward.
Likewise the business owner who has a complete grasp of their businesses situation, understands the profit centres and where to exploit new growth, may not have the confidence to move forward, or is continually distracted, losing focus, or has fear and limiting beliefs of what they can achieve.
A winning combination
There isn’t a successful business that has lasted the test of time; gone from start-up to multinational and been hugely successful that has demonstrated a lack of confidence by the business leader/s or indeed clarity in their business model. Confidence and clarity are probably the two simple words I use to explain how a combination of coaching and consultancy is so important when looking for continuous high growth.
As business owners, we all differ in our levels of confidence. Historical experiences whether negative or positive all influence how we look at risk and opportunity. As business owner’s we all very much differ in the knowledge we have about our business model. It is all too often we don’t have enough knowledge or control over finances, and we miss the important detail within our business models. That old adage of spending too much time working in the business than on it is very common. We miss the details that can positively impact on our bottom line.
As business owners and leaders, we are all vulnerable at some point throughout our business careers, we all experience a lack of confidence and we all lose clarity at some point. The combination of coaching and consultancy I provide is a method that nurtures the confidence and belief system of the individual, and provides clarity technically with a clear direction going forward. Interestingly, the clarity that comes directly from a complete understanding of finances, operations and the improvements that can be made, injects a large degree of confidence within the business owner. A natural and exciting bi-product of truly getting to grips with understanding your business model.
Clarity certainly does lead to confidence, and once I have reached this position with my clients, watching the individual grow with assurance each and every day because they now feel and know they have control, and can achieve a great deal more is hugely rewarding for me as a business coach/consultant. Undoubtedly, a few wobbles will be part of the journey ahead, but that is where I continually fill the voids and help business owners put the distractions to one side, provide support and clarity, and move onto the important aspects of running and building a successful business.
Take a leaf out of every successful entrepreneur’s book
If someone mentions to you they are undecided on whether they need a business coach or consultant please assure them to get the best results they most certainly need both. My combination of building confidence in the business owner, and opening up true clarity around the businesses finances and operations is most certainly a winning combination, and we collectively look to achieve a minimum of 20% year-on-year growth.
I can assure any business owner who hasn’t experienced the benefits of high quality coaching and consultancy, if the business model works, everyone and every business has the ability to achieve this exciting level of year-on-year growth. It just requires the right ingredients of confidence and clarity.