What Are Business Coaches, Consultants, & Leadership Development Coaches?
A business coach is someone who has the ability to not only advise you—but to help you develop the specific set of skills you need to become the business leader you want to be. Depending on your specific challenges, goals, and vision, your business coach may help you:
- Create a business plan
- Discern which of your ideas are most worth pursuing
- Grow as a leader and visionary in your business
- Navigate immediate obstacles and questions
At its core, business coaching should be based on results. Your business coach should hold you accountable to your vision, set expectations, and help you build the momentum you need to move from talking about your goals, to actually achieving them.
According to HubSpot, a consultant is “a person who’s an expert in a particular field who gives professional advice to individuals and businesses in their area of expertise, usually on a temporary or contract basis until a particular need has been met.”
Practically speaking, a consultant’s work tends to be less directive and more research and report-oriented. A consultant might:
- Analyze the problem they’ve been tasked with solving.
- Ask thoughtful questions to get to the root of the problem.
- Provide a report to the business owner
However, they’re not typically available to help implement the solutions they help to create. For this reason, Consultants may be a better fit for more corporate companies, with large existing leadership teams who can help implement the plans constructed with the consultant’s support.
A Leadership Development Coach is, of course, focused first and foremost on their clients’ effectiveness as a leader. They don’t generally get involved in other business matters or advise on issues beyond the scope of team-building.
Working with a Leadership Development Coach is often a long-term process in which the coach is constantly assessing and identifying potential areas of growth. They work with the business owner to develop a plan to grow over time, then shift into a mode of constantly assessing and analyzing to calibrate the business owner’s ability to lead over time.
Which Type of Business Mentor Is Right For You?
Business owners in a more corporate environment may benefit from working with a Consultant—or even a team of Consultants, with specific areas of expertise that align with the organization’s needs.
Likewise, Leadership Development Coaching can be a great fit for business owners who feel confident and stable in all non-team-related areas of their business. If showing up as a stronger leader and building out your leadership team is your top area of priority, working alongside someone who specializes in leadership specifically can be a great way to catalyze your growth.
Over decades of working with business owners to achieve their visions, we’ve seen entrepreneurs experience amazing results working with all different types of mentors. Some business owners prefer to hire experts in all three fields at once to catapult their company forward; others may hire one mentor at a time to focus on different components of their business at different times.
The important thing is choosing the mentor whose individual expertise best aligns with the problems you’re looking to solve and the results you’re looking to create.
Whether you’re searching for your next business coach, consultant, leadership development coach, or something entirely different, be sure to properly vet the person or team you’re considering working with. Ask for client case studies—and be sure to look for tangible examples of real results, not just kind feedback from a small handful of clients. While titles can tell you a lot about a mentor’s area of expertise and past experience, selecting the right human for the job is ultimately more important than getting caught up on labels.