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Business coach versus consultant; which do you need?

Many people ask me what the differences are between a business consultant and a business coach.  Many people advertise their services as small business coaches.  Very few promote themselves as business consultants. How would you know which to choose?

 A business coach is a generalist experienced encouraging people to find their own answers to business challenges. A consultant has prior experience with business problems and provides the solution and suggested methods for implementation.

 A consultant has specific knowledge in many areas of managing a business. A coach is trained to encourage the business owner to learn that knowledge. Depending on particular needs, both can act as mentors to business owners: encouraging and providing answers.

 Business consultants provide specific direction in strategic planning, financial goals and management, marketing strategies, employee and operational control. If business owners are searching for ways to improve their business, hiring a consultant as their mentor is a good choice.  If business owners are searching for ways to improve themselves, a life coach would be a good choice.

 Typically a business consultant provides a higher level of business expertise, whereas a coach will encourage you to do your best.  Consultants will assist you in developing an action plan of steps needed for your business to reach its goals.  A consultant may provide the business owner with a list of tasks required to make the company a success, and a coach may give the techniques on time management for those tasks.

 Which do small business owner require?  It depends on the status of their current business.  If their business is not achieving goals due to poor business planning and implementation, they should hire a consultant.  If an owner has a solid business plan but doesn’t have the courage to complete the tasks, hire a coach.

 There may be times when business owners require the services of both experts. Don’t be afraid to ask precise questions about their experiences when interviewing a potential mentor.

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