What’s the difference between a business coach and a consultant? And who should you hire?
As a business owner looking for help, you may not be sure who you need to hire. Do you need a business coach, consultant, or a mentor? You want to hire the right fit for your needs and get the results you want!
In this post, I’ll outline the differences between a business coach, consultant or a mentor — so can you choose which one is the best fit for you.
Hire a business coach when you want true coaching
Business coaching, and coaching in general, is where the coach guides the client to figure out their own answers vs. provides the answers.
A true coaching agenda is guided by the client. The coach is there to provide a sounding board and be a guide to helping the client figure out their next steps.
Business coaching can be more helpful than consulting or mentoring for the following things:
- Getting clarity and figuring out what you want
- Setting and achieving meaningful goals
- Finding the right path and starting the right business for you
- Creating a business that aligns with and supports your values
- Breaking through blocks and challenges, especially “internal” blocks such as fear and impostor syndrome
- Finding and sustaining motivation
- Enhancing your productivity
- Developing a more focused mindset
- Thriving in times of uncertainty
- Managing stress, anxiety, and overwhelm
- Staying accountable to yourself and your goals
In business coaching, we take a look at what’s working and not working for you in your business, paying special attention to those areas that seem out of alignment. We get to the bottom of the issue, you define what success looks like to you, and we go from there. Changes in one area have a direct effect on the other.
Note: As business coaching has risen in popularity and given the fact that anyone (even non-accredited coaches), can claim to be one, you want to be very clear what credentials your coach has, as well as what their approach is. (Many coaches are actually mentors in disguise!) This can be found by asking your coach these 10 questions.
Consulting offers more strategic advising than coaching
If you are looking for answers to strategic business problems, such as how to improve your marketing or your sales funnel, or how to create a product suite or pricing, it may be time to hire a consultant or strategist.
Consultants and strategists will often take more of an advisory approach, making recommendations based on their expertise.
As a marketing consultant and brand strategist, I work with you to advise you on specific marketing and branding strategies that you could implement to be more effective in those areas.
Consultants and strategists come with a variety of expertise and backgrounds, and can address several topics, including:
- Marketing, messaging, and branding (my expertise)
If you hire a consultant, they will take more of an advisory role, but still will get to know your business and your goals. You will also still be a key part of the process. They will not typically execute on tasks, but instead consult and advise you of the strategy and next steps they recommend.
Mentoring differs from coaching and consulting
Hiring a mentor is trickier. This is because mentors will show you how to do something they have already done and had success with.
For that reason, the best mentors are in the same field as you, in roughly the same market and situation.
What works for one person does not always work for the rest, so choose a mentor that best resembles where you are now and where you want to be before you invest.
Realize that when you hire a mentor, you are getting a specific point of view and perspective vs. a more agnostic view that you would get from a coach.
The benefits of hiring someone who can do both coaching and consulting
My offerings are unique as I act as both a coach and a consultant.
As a certified coach, I work with clients to help you get clear on the big picture, define your vision and goals, ensure that your business is aligned with who you are. I serve as your sounding board, your partner, your cheerleader, and support resource.
I work with you to develop and and actualize goals that will help to move you forward in your life. The end result of coaching is personal growth, clarity on your next steps, and the framework you need to create the business you want, on your terms.
Consulting is for solopreneurs and business owners who want to start, grow, or improve their current marketing and brand strategy to better achieve their business goals.
Consulting provides you with plans, recommendations, and actions you can take to build a stronger, more cohesive brand and marketing plan, so you can get the word out about your business and attract your ideal clients.
As a brand consultant, I can help you with:
- Defining your brand strategy
- Creating a strategic marketing plan
- Determining your value proposition and strategic differentiators
- Getting clear on your target audience
- Creating messaging, including for your website, offers, and marketing
- Developing your online content strategy, including social media and blogs
- Streamlining your efforts with day to day systems and tools
- Deciding what you can do vs what you can outsource
- Determining your priorities and what you can do now to maximize impact
As your consultant, I am your dedicated expert and advisor. I help you to develop a strategy, define your brand, communicate your message, and implement a marketing plan that you can manage. The end result is a clearly defined strategy that aligns with your business goals, complete with action steps that you can carry out.
Why the hybrid Coaching – Consulting model works
In short, a coach works on answering questions as to the “why” and the “what” of your life. What do you want, and why do you want it? What are the things that are standing in your way of achieving it?
A consultant takes your business and brand goals and helps you develop the “how,” “where,” and “when,” providing advice, recommendations and tactical to-dos for your business.
Often, clients are best served by the skills and expertise provided by both a coach and a consultant. It can be extremely helpful to find these skillsets in one person.
In my work with business owners, I take a hybrid approach of coach-consultant, which can benefit you in several ways:
- Allows you to get clear and tap into your vision of what you want to create in your business
- Provides space for you to focus on the your vision first, before moving to the tactical planning stage
- Includes tangible takeaways, plans, and recommendations for moving you forward
- Acts as a holistic approach taking you from start to finish, idea to implementation
Still not clear what you need? Let’s chat. I offer a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your current situation and figure out what works best for you.