What is a professional business coach and what do they do?
There are lots of advisors and different types of professional business coach out there, but which sort it right for your business depends on what your objectives are.
Here is a quick guide to the difference between business training, business consulting, business mentoring, and business coaching.
Training is mainly about straight education and is bracketed on specified topics. A training session is well defined but also relatively inflexible as it has precise learning aims and objectives for each lesson.
Training helps by giving you knowledge and some theoretical application scenarios.
It is limited, however, as it is normally intended to provide initial knowledge and understanding. This level of learning then still needs to be taken forward to real-world application via different types of support.
One point worth recognising is that the trainer will normally not be present when real-world application takes place.
Consulting provides a specific plan or solution for a specific business goal.
It helps by giving you an answer, but does not always offer the exploration of other potential solutions.
Consulting is often designed to solve a specific problem in a specific situation, on that occasion alone. That’s not to say that it is exclusively short-sighted by nature, just to recognise that it is often applied in that way.
The consultant will normally implement the majority of the actions, and guide the client on future maintenance or repetition. A lot of consultancy leads to a regular repeat hire for the latest version to be applied.
Mentoring is a process of guidance and support which is normally based on the direct experience of the supplier within the situation, department, role, or position being supported.
It helps by showing the client how the supplier did it when they were in that position. There is always a risk here when there have been substantial time gaps or industry advancements in the time gap between experience and advice giving.
This service is intended to be a real-world role model, and allows them to act as an experienced sounding board to the less experienced client…
The mentor will normally work alongside their client for an extended period, and in many cases mentorship is part of succession (i.e. a role handover period).
Business coaching involves a blend of pure coaching, training, consulting, and mentoring… Taking the best elements of the other three services and using them at the right times.
This service is closest in nature to mentoring, but also provides external accountability for performance. It is based on long term objectives and short term action plans, and is now a common choice for successful businesses who want even better results.
It helps you critically think about your situation, problems, opportunities and options. A good coach will also critically assess and help you to adjust past behaviours and actions for greater success in the future.
Business coaching is an effective means of empowering business owners to apply their learning in setting, and then also be able to translate it into other different situations. Coaching and mentoring offer a significant difference to pure consulting, as they leave you with the ability to apply future solutions without further guidance.
The client completes the majority of actions within a coaching relationship, and receives guidance and feedback before and after their implementation. The client reports progress and commits to the next actions with the coach, having their permission to hold them accountable for doing so to the best of their ability.
Coaching has traditionally been delivered face to face, but is now regularly possible using online conference call technology. It is relevant to both small business owners, and larger firms as the advice can be tailored as needed towards either pure business or executive coaching.
Choosing the right support for you
Running your own business, and need to make an informed choice?
If you want expanded knowledge through education hire a trainer.
If you want a solution to one problem, hire a consultant.
If you want to replicate the success of another specific person, hire a mentor.
But if you want to grow your business, and achieve a range of results for yourself, your clients, and your team, hire a business coach!
Profile of this blog’s author – a Brighton Business Coach
Tim Rylatt is an experienced business coach and management consultant who works with clients within Brighton and across Sussex. He has an interesting career history; having started out as a Geology graduate, and with a first career within the Police forces in both Brighton and Guernsey.
His last role within the force was as the training officer for the States of Guernsey. Whilst there, he was instrumental in the designing and implementation of the first ever on-island training for officers.
This was a substantial undertaking and involved supporting the design and delivery of a two-year training course for students. This project carried a cost in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Tim exited the Police following a knee injury, and brought his coaching skills into the business world through a franchise with ActionCOACH. After 10 years with the franchise, Tim sold his practice and set up as an independent practice in 2019.
He has designed a full coaching framework for growth ambitious business owners, and is now working with a range of companies across the South East of England. He has also written two books on the subject of marketing and business strategy (Growing by Design, his latest book is available here).
As a business owner himself he has a real-world understanding of what it takes to be successful, balance a mix of responsibilities, manage teams, and develop companies. Tim is a director in two marketing agencies, as well as running his coaching practice.
Tim’s day to day work with businesses includes business planning and business growth strategies, marketing planning, marketing activities, team development, systemisation, profit growth strategies, and much more. Each coaching session is between 45 minutes and an hour.
To learn more about business coaching, or to book a free 90-minute business review session with Tim, please visit here.