Does your business need a coach or a consultant?  Seems like an easy question to answer but for some the difference between the two can be quite confusing.

You would normally hire a coach or consultant if you business has an issue that you need professional advice to handle but not feel there is enough of a workload to justify hiring an additional worker.  So what is the difference between a business coach and a business consultant?

A business coach is someone that will listen to your problems and lead you to the answer.  They are usually hired for a longer period and act almost as a business therapist.  They are more likely to help you solve a variety of issues or to look at your business from the “big picture” perspective.  Many business coaches have gone through a formal training process in order to provide this type of business assistance.

The following six tips were listed by Dr. Steven Berglas on Forbes.com [view complete article here] on hiring a business coach:

  1. Coaches aren’t paid to make people feel good.
  2. Coaches respect boundaries between the professional and personal realms.
  3. Coaches are not intermediaries.
  4. Good coaches never gossip.
  5. Beware the up-sell.
  6. Coaches are not life-directors.

A business consultant, on the other hand, is someone hired to help solve a specific issue like creating a business plan, marketing plan, develop a risk analysis or assist with responding to questions or concerns you may have about your business.  Your consultant will generally specialize in one type of industry and have extensive professional experience in that field.  Consultants are less likely to hold your hand through the process, rather they will develop a plan of implementation and expect you to do the leg work.

According to Jan B. King on The Side Road [click here to read the full article], you should ask the following ten questions before hiring a business consultant:

  1. Most consultants focus on two areas: cutting costs and raising revenues. What do you see as the relationship between the two functions? Which do you do better?
  2. What was your professional experience before you became a consultant?
  3. How many professionals work with you or at your firm?
  4. Will you sign a letter of confidentiality? Will you refrain from working for our competitors?
  5. Who are some of your other clients? Who are some people and companies with whom you’ve worked before? Can I call them to ask about your work?
  6. With how many clients do you work at one time? Do you have enough time to devote to our company to accomplish our goals? Will you return phone calls or emails the same day?
  7. Will you teach us to do this work for ourselves and become self-sufficient? How long will this take?
  8. Have you written anything – published or not – that deals with issues like the ones this company faces?
  9. How do you charge for services? Do your fees include travel time and other miscellaneous charges or are those billed separately?
  10. What kind of documentation will you give us when the project is completed? Who will own that documentation?

If you have any additional questions about whether your business needs a coach or consultant, don’t hesitate to send your questions to contact@lakeshawomack.com.

 

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