Only today I was asked the difference between coaching and consulting. I expect opinions vary on this, but to me coaching is one-on-one. By its very nature, it is more personal, allowing the coach to delve into leadership issues more deeply. Consulting works with the relevant team more, and is often more project-focused.
A business coach will focus on business issues. However, these can quickly become intertwined with the personal. For example, if the leadership issue is presence, that has everything to do with the core of the person. However, the purpose of the coaching is to improve business performance.
Although life purpose finds its way in there generally speaking, and is certainly an important element of discussion, the coaching is not life coaching.
And it certainly isn’t therapy. If the issue is mental health, someone qualified to treat this is the solution – not a business coach.
Business coaches work with clients to improve business results. If the business is a social enterprise, a bottom line is also the social mission.
Two key facets for improving business results are the business strategy, and the implementation of the strategy. For me, the second has a lot to do with leadership. Yes, the soft, fuzzy skills that are so critical for positive human interactions.
My strategy coaching and training revolves around finding a real competitive advantage that is valuable to customers. So, this requires knowing what your target market is. It involves knowing the needs and wants of the market – and if any are not being supplied — there is an opportunity for you.
Leadership development depends on what the person needs. I favour an approach where the positives are emphasized. It is only through fully appreciating our strengths that we become the healthy, happy, confident individuals that attract followers.
Still, understanding what would help our teams most is important. Understanding ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, allows us to delegate the work others are better at to them. It also allows us to ensure we build a team that balances our strengths.
Communicating more, ensuring the team knows where we are coming from and why can be an issue. Or, knowing our truth and stating it kindly to others, otherwise known as assertiveness, can be tricky for others. Aggressiveness does not build a team.
So, the business coach works with you to build or hone strategies or leadership skills. It is confidential, personalized, focused attention on the needs at hand — to grow your business profitably.
Tove Rasmussen, Business Coach and CEO of Partners Creating Growth, offers business expertise worldwide to help organizations grow, and disadvantaged regions thrive.
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