What is a business consultant, a business coach and a business advisor?
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
You may be wondering what a business consultant, a business coach and a business advisor is, and what is the difference.
All these terms tend to get interchanged. When you consider the industry of supporting businesses with specialist advise, there are no qualifications or mandatory standards. As a result of an unregulated industry, all kinds of names get banded around. However, here is something that might help.
A Business Consultant will normally come in with an area of expertise and, often will work in your business for a period of time while they work on solving the particular problem that you have, or helping to implement the solution you need. Think of them as a specialist that is seconded to work for you on a particular issue. These issues could range from computer software installations to organisational structure changes.
A business coach on the other hand, is very likely to have no specialist skills in a particular area other than coaching. You might think that this isn't very useful, but that is not the case at all. Business coaches work on helping you get clarity on what it is that you want to do. A coach starts from the premise that you have all the answers, you just need some help to unlock them or create certainty with what you are doing. After a coaching session the coach should follow up and help hold you accountable for the actions you said you would do. Often people find that with this, they achieve much more than they would if left to their own devices. This coaching can be particularly useful for owners who don't have a direct manager or board to report to.
A business advisor is a very broad term. Typically they would have some degree of relevant experience in a similar field to which you are working in, or a qualification that gives them the skills to work across multiple industries. A business advisor is much more likely to give recommendations on what you should be doing in the business, but unlike a consultant, they are less likely to help implement the solutions. And unlike a coach they will be more likely to solve the problem or offer advice on the next steps.
Some people are able to effectively fill all these roles if they have suitable qualifications and skill sets.