A Business Consultant works with clients on strategy, planning, and problem-solving and helps clients develop business skills and knowledge. These topics range from designing a business model or marketing plan to determining which marketing techniques to use and how to use them. You’ll often help clients learn how to plan and implement projects. A small business consultant gives advice, teaches skills, and brainstorms with the client to produce practical results and enhance strategic thinking.
A Business Coach helps clients to create success by focusing on personal development: time management, self-sabotaging behavior (like procrastination and distraction), finding clarity, decision making, and getting into action. When you put on your coaching hat, you don’t give advice. Instead, you help the client find the answers from within themselves.
There is a lot of confusion between what the ICF (International Coach Federation) calls a “small business coach” and what the rest of the world thinks a “small business coach” is. Don’t get hung up on titles unless you want to strictly follow the ICF definition. You can call yourself a consultant, advisor, mentor or coach, and most clients will understand that it means you’ll help them solve problems and grow their business. Pay attention to the outcomes the clients seek. (If it helps, I call myself a “coach-consultant” to show I use both coaching and consulting techniques when working with clients.)
You need both consulting skills and coaching skills in order to be effective and provide real value. I have been working with micro business owners and solo entrepreneurs for over 20 years and I rarely find one that doesn’t need both coaching and consulting.
It’s true: they almost never approach me and ask for straight coaching. They ask for consulting. They ask for practical advice and brainstorming. But in the search to find solutions and to map out a strategy, a small business owner will stumble unless they do both the personal development work and the business development work that leads to success.
by Karyn Greenstreet