Should You Hire Business Consultant or a Business Coach?
As a business consultant and a business coach, I am often asked: “What is the difference between a business consultant and business coach?” and “which one should I hire?”. The quick and easy answer to the first question is a business consultant will do the actions for a client whereas a business coach helps the client take actions. For example, if a client needs a new marketing campaign focused on millennials, a business consultant would design the marketing campaign for the client. In contrast, a business coach would work with the business owner in designing the marketing campaign. In other words, the business consultant does the work and the business coach helps the business owner complete the objective.
As for the next question, “Which one should I hire?”, this all depends on the situation for the business owner. Listed below are common situations where a business owner is forced to decide between hiring a business consultant and a business coach. Further, recommendations are provided as to which one would be beneficial for the client.
Lacking skills needed to complete the task at hand.
If a client has no professional skills related to the task and has no desire to learn the skills needed to complete the task, then a business consultant is a better choice. For example, if the customer wants a webpage designed, and they have absolutely no skill with webpage design, then there is no need for coaching whatsoever.
However, if the small business owner wishes to build upon the task needed. In other words, if the business owner wishes to continue to maintain their website, then a business coach is preferable. This is because the business coach will work with the small business owner in constructing the foundation of a website, while the business owner learns tips and tricks from a paid professional. This will allow the construction of a sound foundation in web design, or any other topic for that matter, and the skills learned will allow for continued expansion of the foundational topic.
Cost is a consideration.
If money is an issue, then a business coach is almost always preferable as compared to a consultant. Business coaches will work with customers, usually, on a set schedule to ensure that a project or task is completed on time. A popular method that I employ in my business is to meet with a business owner on a weekly or daily schedule. In these meetings, we identify the end objective for the coaching project. From this, a specific schedule is set, with target dates for intermediate objectives. In subsequent meetings, we identify issues faced with meeting the interim objectives. From this, new actions are identified to overcome obstacles and maintain the end objective deadline. In the end, the structure allows small business owners to save money and still attain the objective.
Time is of the essence.
In the event that a business owner needs results fast, then a business consultant is most surely the best selection. A business consultant can take on a project in a matter of days and complete most projects in a shorter time period as compared to business coaching sessions. For example, a few years ago, a customer needed a business plan within 24 hours. However, they also wanted to learn how to write a business plan. Because of the contrasting objectives, my recommendation was to allow me to write a business plan to meet their time deadline. After this objective is attained, then we can schedule sessions to break down the business plan and reconstructed business plan with the owner as the author. By doing this, both needed objectives were attained.
A common challenge for small business owners is they are absolutely fantastic in their trade but are lost in terms of management skill and/or ability. In this scenario, business consulting is really a lost cause. For the simple fact that a business owner needs to learn managerial skills as compared to having a business consultant step in and manage their business. From this, a business coach is an excellent choice. Business coaches have expert knowledge in the management field and can help some small business owner build skills needed to better communicate with vendors, delegate responsibility to employees and other managerial related skills.
For more information about business consulting and business coaching, contact us today!
Author: Paul Borosky, MBA., ABD.