What’s the difference between a business coach and a consultant?

Often when a business owner is looking to grow their business, they find themselves asking “what’s the difference between a business coach and a consultant?”

Business coaches and consultants are both professionals who help businesses improve and achieve their goals. But they do so in different ways.

It’s a great question and one worth finding out the answer to so that you can decide which one is right for you. So let’s take a look at the differences and similarities between the two.

What are the main differences between a business coach and a consultant?

In order to know the differences between a coach and a consultant, it’s critical to understand what each one does. Let’s start with a business coach and look at what exactly a business coach does.

Any good coach will use a coaching programme that has a clear structure. Without it, it’s just some random guy or girl turning up and asking you questions. Therefore it’s important to have a framework for a coaching model.

So let’s get some clarity on what that means.

A coaching programme should start off by getting clear on what the business owners’ goals are. There’s a skill to goal setting so a business coach will often help the owner set the goals and get clear. When setting goals, it’s important to start with the end in mind. What’s the biggest goal, or “the north star.” Once we’re clear on that we can reverse engineer and work backwards towards an annual goal, then break that down into 90-day goals. Once a business owner has a 90-day goal, they can set weekly actions towards that goal, and then there’s a domino effect. Each weekly action moves the owner towards the 90-day goal, which moves them towards the annual goal, which moves them towards their “north star.”

Once the business owner is working on the north star…

Then it’s time to educate the business owner. For example, if they need to triple their turnover to complete the north star, they might need education on marketing, sales, recruitment, or systemising a business. The coach then has a responsibility to educate the business owner in that area so they have the skills to complete the goal.

Other than setting goals, working on them, and educating the business owner so they can achieve them, a coach also holds the business owner to account. Accountability plays a big part in the role of a coach. They hold them accountable for completing the work needed to accomplish their goals.

For more information on what a business coach does just click here.

Next up, it’s time to look at what a business consultant does;

A consultant is a subject matter expert who helps organisations address specific challenges or opportunities. Consultants might conduct research, analyse data, and make recommendations to help a company improve its operations, enter new markets, or launch new products or services.

Consultants usually have a very niche area that they work in. So there may be a business consultant that specialises in writing bids for large organisations. The consultant would then go into the business, actually write the bid for the company and then leave.

The difference in coaching is that a coach would give you or someone in your team the skills so that you could “fish for life” rather than doing it for you as a typical consultant would.

To find out more about what a consultant does and how they often niche down just click here.

If you’re a business owner looking to develop your business and grow, a business coach might be the right choice. But if your organisation is facing a very specific challenge or opportunity (such as becoming more eco-friendly, or even writing an HR proposal), a consultant may be better suited to help you address it.

What are the similarities between a business coach and a consultant?

Business coaches and consultants share some similarities in the sense that they both aim to help businesses improve their operations and achieve their goals. Some of the similarities include:

  1. Coaches and consultants work with business owners to help them spot their challenges and solve them.
  2. Both coaches and consultants use their expertise and knowledge to provide guidance and advice to clients.
  3. They also work to help businesses improve their performance and achieve their goals.
  4. Coaches and consultants work to help businesses make better decisions. Most of the time business owners make decisions based on emotion. That’s when the decision becomes subjective. As the old saying goes “a decision made from fear (or any other negative emotion) is always the wrong decision.” So whether it’s by providing them with new information, asking them questions to help them see clearly, helping them understand their customers better, or helping them develop new strategies, both coaches and consultants help business owners make better decisions.
  5. Another similarity between coaches and consultants is that they provide an outside perspective. That can be really valuable for businesses that are looking to shake things up and think differently.
  6. Both coaches and consultants can work with businesses of all sizes and in all industries, and they can work with businesses at all stages of development.

In summary, while business coaches and consultants have different focuses, they both aim to help businesses improve. They also both aim to help a business owner achieve their goals and make better decisions. Finally, they both bring outside perspectives, expertise, and knowledge to the table to guide and advise the clients.

Should I use a coach or a consultant?

The decision of whether to use a coach or a consultant depends on the specific needs of your business. For some, it feels like a no-brainer to use a coach or consultant so that they can achieve their goals quicker.

For others, it might feel like a waste of time.

The decision to use a coach or consultant is a personal one, so don’t rush it. Do your research properly and get a feel for whether a coach or consultant is right for you.

It’s important to note that, if you’re a business owner looking for help with your business, for some a combination of both a coach and a consultant would be the best approach to help you achieve your goals. A coach can help you provide lasting change and learn how to become a skilled entrepreneur. While a consultant can provide you with the expertise and knowledge needed to address specific challenges or opportunities (such as being more sustainable or learning to franchise).

How do I decide which is right for me?

When deciding whether to use a coach or a consultant, take some time to think about these things:

  1. Assess your needs. What is it that you actually want? By starting with the end in mind you’ll get much more clarity.
  2. Research both options. Learn about the different services that coaches and consultants offer and how they can help your business. Research different professionals in your area and read reviews from their past clients.
  3. Consider your budget. Both coaches and consultants can charge differently. It’s important to consider your budget when making your decision. Make sure you understand the costs involved and that the professional you choose is within your budget.
  4. Look for experience and qualifications. When choosing a coach or consultant, look for someone who has the experience and relevant qualifications.
  5. Schedule a meeting. Contact the coach or consultant and schedule a meeting or consultation to discuss your needs and determine whether they are the right fit for your business.
  6. Consider the time frame. Coaching is typically an ongoing process, while consulting projects often have a defined beginning and end.
  7. Assess the fit. Assess whether the coach or consultant is a good fit for your business in terms of their personality, communication style, and approach. It’s important to work with someone you feel comfortable with and trust.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use a coach or a consultant will depend on the specific needs of you and your business. Both can be valuable resources, but it’s important to choose the right person to help you achieve your goals.

Where can I find different coaches or consultants?

There are many places to find coaches or consultants. Some options include simply jumping on Google, always an easy place to check out different businesses. There are also plenty of professional associations such as Action Coach and the international coach federation. You could ask or look on social media, places like LinkedIn or Facebook. Finally, you could also ask for referrals from friends, family, or colleagues.

How much does a coach or consultant usually cost?

The cost of a coach or consultant can vary widely depending on their level of experience, the type of coaching or consulting they offer, and their location. Some coaches and consultants may also offer packages that can reduce the overall cost.

Something else to think about, there are also coaches and consultants who charge a lot more than the average. Especially for those who have a high level of expertise and experience. It’s usually the same for those who are in high demand. It is always best to ask for their prices, and also check their credentials and experience to make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

For a detailed explanation of our prices and memberships click here.

How do I hire a coach or consultant?

To hire most coaches or consultants you’d need to schedule an initial consultation or book on to one of their programmes to see if their coaching style and approach aligns with your needs and goals.

Any good coach or consultant will make it clear on their website or social media channels how you can buy from them and what steps to take.

To take a look at joining a coaching membership with Action Coach simply click here.


What's the difference between a business coach and consultant?

What’s the difference between a business coach and a consultant?