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Thread: Business Consultant vs. Business Coach

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    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
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    Business Consultant vs. Business Coach

    Hello All,

    I am looking to hear what people think about the following,
    1. Is there a difference between a business consultant and a business coach?
    2. If yes, what is the difference between a business consultant and a business coach?

    The reason I am asking the above is that my business colleagues and myself continuously have this debate on the difference or lack off difference between the 2!

    If you are a business consultant or business coach, I would also love to know your thinking from your own profession\business prospective!

    Thanks
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    Silver Member Norri's Avatar
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    My coach defines the difference as follows:

    A business consultant is like an employee who reports to you. They find out what's wrong, they advise on how to fix it, they even hire the right people to fix it and do the work themselves.
    A business coach is someone YOU report to. They find out what's wrong, they advice on how to fix it, and they keep you accountable for becoming the business owner that is needed in order for this problem to go away.

    In short, one is a "quick fix", the other is a long-term fix that focuses on the core issue - the business owner. A quick way to get my business coach to fire you as a client is to expect him to work in your business. He teaches, you implement.

    I'd like to add to that that my business and general mental well-being have both improved DRAMATICALLY since I started weekly business coaching. I highly recommend it to anyone that's serious about getting good at business.

    Of course, the trick is in finding a coach worth his weight in salt. My coach has very much, "been there, done that" in terms of business success (and taking multiple companies public, etc) and now coaches because it's his passion, not because he needs to. That's the type of coach I recommend. Also, of course, a coach is there to kick your arse into gear, so pick one who is a) willing and b) able to do that. You must respect him/her enough that you actually do what he/she says.
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    AndyD (23-Feb-12), BusFact (23-Feb-12), BusNavig8 (01-Mar-12), Dave A (21-Feb-12), Debbiedle (01-Sep-14), flaker (04-Mar-12), Singhms (21-Feb-12)

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    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
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    @Blurock, would love to hear your taughts on this topic
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    IMHO

    Its a fairly subtle difference.
    - Consultant advises the business. Tends to be quite specific in scope and not necessarily applicable to other businesses.
    - Coach, trains the manager or owner on how to run the business. Tends to be far more generalised and will often be able to be used in various businesses.

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    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
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    @BusFact, So if you where looking for a consultant or coach. Would you maybe rather have a blended approach i.e a consultant\coach helping you in your business? or just 1 of the 2?

    Thanks,
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    May I throw the word "mentor" in the mix here? Or is that just going to confuse things even further?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singhms View Post
    @Blurock, would love to hear your taughts on this topic
    There are some pretty good business coaches out there; Action Coach, Enablis and many others have a structured programme to guide the emerging entrepreneur and teach the basics about business. A wide range of topics from marketing to HR and management are covered. A business coach is a generalist and can add a lot of value to a small or medium sized business.

    A business consultant on the other hand, is a specialist. Yes I know every Dick Tom and Harry call themselves consultants these days, but ask for credentials, qualifications and references.

    A business consultant should be a specialist in his/her field and should never be a generalist. An accountant is a specialist and can consult on accounting matters. An HR consultant should know everything there is to know about HR practice and law.

    I specialise in cash flow management and business funding. I also do business plans for clients, but that is a sideline and can not be regarded as a speciality. There are thousands of people who do business plans and you can also download templates from the internet.

    I hope that gives a bit of perspective.
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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    May I throw the word "mentor" in the mix here? Or is that just going to confuse things even further?
    Business mentors fulfil a very important role which I will place somewhere between a business coach and a business consultant. (only my own humble opinion) Maybe with more personal involvement.

    These are normally experienced entrepreneurs or even retired business people who will guide and teach usually younger people in business practice. Business Partners and other institutions use this to great effect to up skill emerging entrepreneurs. A mentor can also be an employer or head of department who teaches a protege to eventually take over the job.

    There are many examples of very successful mentorships, e.g. Freddie Laker who started the idea of low cost airlines, mentored Richard Branson.

    Word Origin & History
    mentor*
    "wise advisor," 1750, from Gk. Mentor, character in the "Odyssey," friend of Odysseus, adviser of Telemachus (often actually Athene in disguise), perhaps ult. meaning "adviser," since the name appears to be an agent noun of mentos "intent, purpose, spirit, passion" from PIE *

    n
    the friend whom Odysseus put in charge of his household when he left for Troy. He was the adviser of the young Telemachus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singhms View Post
    @BusFact, So if you where looking for a consultant or coach. Would you maybe rather have a blended approach i.e a consultant\coach helping you in your business? or just 1 of the 2?

    Thanks,
    It really depends on the problem. I'm not convinced that a blended approach sounds terribly viable. Blurock eloquently expanded on my earlier post and explained that they solve very different problems.

    If I have no idea what is wrong with my business, the coach might be a better solution. If I am having staff problems, or production problems, or tax problems, etc, I would look for the relevant specialist consultant.

    The moment someone tries to become both a consultant and a coach, I believe that automatically makes them a generalist, so they effectively become a coach.

    I suppose someone calling themselves a "general business consultant" is effectively calling themselves a business coach using the definitions we have come up with in this thread.

    Perhaps another way of looking at it is: The consultant must give me answers to my questions, the coach must teach me how to find the answers.

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    Email problem BusNavig8's Avatar
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    These are brilliant posts and very informative as well. Glad I came upon them. I see coaching moving into the realm of executive coaching more and more though.

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