Business Coach vs. Consultant:
Who Should You Invest Your Cash In?
Who Should You Invest Your Cash In?
Today I want to talk about a question I get asked a lot and that is what’s the difference between a business coach, a business mentor and a business consultant. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was very young and I’ve mentored people along the same journeys as me in business. I’ve also worked for many years as a trained business strategist and consultant but, I’m not a coach! So, let’s dive in and start unpicking what this means!
I’m Lor Bradley, author of Grow Your Tribe. And I’m a business strategist, and online business mentor and I show entrepreneurs smart ways to escape the 'feast or famine' trap by working smarter, not harder. If you want my weekly tips on how to grow your business hit subscribe and give me a like to let me know you’ve watched my video. Ok let’s get straight to it.
By the time people reach me they either know they need a business mentor or consultant, or, and this is most often the case they’ve been burnt by their experiences of spending say, ten grand working with their business coach and their business didn’t grow, or they didn’t learn from their coach.
And they’ll say,
“Lor, I really don't feel like she's taught me anything but she promised my business would grow", or, "I don't think this coach has been any good for me, or my business because I wanted somebody to tell me exactly what I needed to do, and I haven't grown".
And its such a shame because they waste their hard-earned money on the experience and then when they realise the skills they do need to invest in, their money is gone.
So, am I about to tell you that business coaches are bad news? No, absolutely not. But what I am going to do is talk to you about the differences between these three roles and give you some direction for which skillset can help you to grow your business! And I want to say to you that there are three avenues open to you when you're thinking about investing in growing your business.
And these are business consultancy, business mentoring and business coaching.
So, so aside of the general lack of awareness around these skill sets, many people just don't know what the difference is. And the downside of not knowing which one to work with can really make the difference between skyrocketing your business or not, and just staying stuck where you are. And working with the right individual can take your business to the next level, and by picking the right skill set can save you so much time and money when it comes to growing your business.
I’m going to use an analogy here of owning and driving a car on a long journey, to bring my examples to life.
Now I'm a consultant, which means I hold the keys to unlocking your business because I have the right answers. And you’d usually invest in a business consultant if you are looking for an expert to troubleshoot a problem in your business or, to lay out the exact steps to take to get to where you want to be. Now, consultants work strategically, and we’ll often have two or three options or solutions in our backs pockets if a client doesn’t like an approach we have suggested.
Now we consultants get paid very well because we’re trained in various business strategies, we are able to think on our feet quickly and we have the technical experience to show you exactly what you need to do to get to where you want to be. We are considered experts because we know what to deliver and how, based on the information you have given us.
So in the example, if you want to buy a car that’s going to get you to your destination super-fast, and you think you need the formula one car, but, I would tell you exactly what you should do. I might say, “well if you traverse the cross-country terrain instead of on the highway then you’ll get to your destination in half the time, but in THIS vehicle and on THIS route, instead of the formula one car.
So, my job is to be your expert on your journey, to tell you exactly what you need, and exactly how to get there and resolve any challenges you might have along the way. So, imagine those pit stops you might make on your journey to change wheels, or work out what the weird warning light on the dashboard means! You know, the warning light that’s never explained in the user manual! So, it’s my job to drive, or direct you there myself and fix the problems along the way.
Now let’s move onto mentors!
So, in our example, you might take me along on your journey across that bumpy terrain to your destination because I did it 3 years before you. I also know the terrain; I know the tracks and what driving skills or tools you might need to traverse the tricky bits. So, you might need a mentor if you know exactly where you’re going strategically in your business but need someone with more experience who has taken that same journey. Remember though, if you don’t have the right vehicle, or the right journey plan in place first then a mentor alone may not be able to get you to where you need to be.
And this is where the relationship between business owners and business coaches can fall down. Many invest in coaches thinking that a coach will provide the expertise and the answers, and they walk away from the coaching relationship feeling dissatisfied because they weren’t expecting to be told to find their own answers. And that’s always a shame because some good coaches get a bad rap because of this misunderstanding.
But this is exactly what a great coach is there to do; to travel with you whilst you complete your own journey, and you execute your own game plan to get there. A great coach will help you to tap into your own mindset, and you solve your own problem. So, they will accompany you on that journey in your passenger seat. And if you’re looking for the answers of exactly how to get to where you want to be, hire a consultant and if you’re looking to find yourself, your talents and strengths in business then hire a good coach. And if you have all of the above already, then work with a mentor who has been there and done it before you.
Now, I’m often asked, can a consultant also be a coach? It’s a bit sketchy and I’m going to say no. It’s rare because of the nature of the type of thinking that sits behind the way we consultants work. So, consultants are paid trouble shooters, we’re problem solvers and we provide answers. And this is the natural mindset approach we take, and as you already know, the role of the coach is to use their skills draw the answers out of you.
Well I believe there is massive value in having all three as individually their skill sets can help you to propel your business forwards! But, many of you will not have the luxury of being able to afford these skills individually so if you need more than one skillset then search for someone with a combination of these skills. For example, I am an expert consultant and a mentor because I have that tack record. I can coach to a certain extent based on my own mindset experiences, but I am not a mindset coach.
And that means, if you’re looking for an expert who has the answers to grow your business and is also an experienced mentor then I would potentially be an ideal expert for your business. So, be absolutely sure about what skill set you need before you invest. An experienced consultant, coach or mentor will be able to clearly explain the differences between these roles. They should be able to articulate your problem back to you and if they aren’t the right fit, they should be able to explain the right skill set that you’ll need for growing yourself, or your business.
And if they’re unable to do that or want to take your money without having that initial conversation, then keep hold of your hard-earned cash until you find someone who can!
xo, Lor Bradley.
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