Consultants and Coaches - Your Secret Weapons
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
While it is true that there has never been a better time to start your own business, and the resources are out there to help you make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality, this doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone.
If you are starting off on your journey into self employment or setting up a new company, you will have come across numerous coaching and consultant websites, Linkedin profiles and social media pages of people advertising themselves as business consultants or coaches, social media consultants, digital marketing consultants, life coaches and SEO consultants and that’s just scratching the surface. But what exactly is the difference between a coach and a consultant and what can they do for you and your business?
I have heard it said that a coach is like a partner in your business, and a consultant is a bit more like an advisor, but many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t understand the difference between a coach and a consultant. This leaves them with a problem in that they don’t know which one they really need and if they require them now or maybe at some point in the future.
I am a firm believer that all business owners can benefit from both consultants and coaches, but you need to know when to use them.
That is not to say that you can’t go it alone and become master of every aspect of your business. You definitely can, however bringing in expert help in key areas of specialisation for your business can really take the pressure off and free up your time whilst allowing you to grow and learn more on your journey.
What Does A Coach Do?
A business coach for example, will work with you to help you develop the skills you already have. They work to bring out the “best” of you, and help you find your skillset and the areas you should focus on.
It is helpful to consider what exactly a coach in your favourite sports team does (although depending on the team you support, you might argue they don’t do much!). A football coach for example will help the star players to focus on their areas of specialisation and help put a plan in place which will empower the team as a whole to succeed by focusing on their individual skill sets. The coach uses their organisational skills and understanding of the overall picture to help guide you.
Similarly, a business coach might help you find your purpose and will ask the right questions to help motivate and drive your business idea forward. They will address mindset issues like the all too common imposter syndrome and help you overcome limiting beliefs so you can focus on your business passion.
They will help you create action steps and a roadmap with you, which you can follow and they will hold you accountable.
What Does A Consultant Do?
A consultant is more of an expert in a particular area, who you turn to for help with that area of your business. They can teach you skills you don’t know, and they will focus on their one area of expertise and use their knowledge to improve that particular area of your business.
The primary job of the consultant is to teach and suggest a direction for specific aspects of the business. You typically hire a consultant for an outside perspective and a fresh look at a particular area of your business like social media or SEO for example.
Consultants can be more temporary depending on what they are hired to do. For example a business consultant might be hired to develop a business plan, identify marketing needs and outline any areas of the business which need improvement and a plan to improve them. But when their project is complete with you, they move on to the next one.
So Which One Do You Need?
To be honest, I think you need both to run a successful business! I myself am an SEO consultant, but elements of what I do fall under the remit of a coach.
Both coaches and consultants will add value to your business in their field of expertise and it is worth exploring the opportunities hiring both will afford your business.
Choosing one doesn't mean you can’t, or shouldn’t hire the other at some stage. You need to figure out what your skill set is and where you fall short before you make the decision to go and find a consultant or coach. Then I would advise you to look at your goals for your business and think about what you want to achieve.
If growing your brand on social media is a priority, then hire a social media consultant who can turbo charge your social media presence. We all know how to post on social media and have an idea of what it takes, but there is a reason that this is a profession, so delegate to the professionals and move on to something you are passionate about and have the skill set for.
But if you are a solo entrepreneur trying to navigate the choppy waters of startups with nobody to brainstorm your ideas with, then a life coach would be a great option to start with.
Either way, both consultants and coaches in their many fields of specialisations will add huge value to your business and help you grow as an entrepreneur.