Coaching vs Consulting and Do I Need it?

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Mar 24, 2011

 Coaching vs Consulting and Do I Need it?
Coach­ing What would hap­pen if Tiger Woods fired his coach and deter­mined to golf solo? Would he still remain the best in the world? Maybe for a short time. A coach is hired to offer per­son­al train­ing, encour­age­ment, ideas and to be sup­port­ive of an indi­vid­ual. In short, a coach keeps his client goal focused. What is the goal for Tiger Woods? To win! What is the goal of a con­trac­tor? To run a prof­itable and well run busi­ness, right? A coach is typ­i­cal­ly hired on a long term basis, not short term. A coach also does­n’t work just with the own­er. He or she might be hired to coach an esti­ma­tor: i.e. a Sales Coach. Maybe you’ve hired a new pro­duc­tion man­ag­er from with­in the com­pa­ny and the new man­ag­er needs help set­ting spe­cif­ic goals, a coach would some­times be hired to keep him account­able and on tar­get. If a busi­ness own­er wants more spe­cif­ic help on run­ning his busi­ness, such as how to build to sell, how to hire employ­ees, a busi­ness plan, hav­ing good busi­ness sys­tems, he would typ­i­cal­ly hire a con­sul­tant, not a coach. Unless of course he wants some­one long term to keep him account­able. Con­sult­ing A con­sul­tant is typ­i­cal­ly hired for short term rea­sons, to help with a spe­cif­ic need or prob­lem. Con­sul­tants will typ­i­cal­ly ask why some­thing is hap­pen­ing and then help his client think through ways to over­come his prob­lems to reach his busi­ness goals. Con­sul­tants can be hired for all aspects of busi­ness: mar­ket­ing, busi­ness plan­ning, tax­es, finan­cial, pro­duc­tion and more. In some cas­es, hav­ing both a con­sul­tant and a coach can be an excel­lent move for most small and large busi­ness­es. Did you know that even McDon­alds, the Mar­riott, and Ver­i­zon all hire out­side con­sul­tants? Exam­ple from my Dad Most con­trac­tors and small busi­ness­es I talk to about coach­ing or con­sult­ing ser­vices respond the same way, I don’t think I can afford a con­sul­tant.” To answer this state­ment, let me share with you a per­son­al sto­ry: I grew up watch­ing my dad work 12 hours a day run­ning (not build­ing) his small paint­ing busi­ness in San Diego dur­ing the 80s and ear­ly 90s. His cus­tomers loved him, and he was blessed with lots of refer­rals and repeat busi­ness. He had one prob­lem. He was­n’t real­ly mak­ing any mon­ey. Of course there was the typ­i­cal job that was prof­itable but most jobs were just pay­ing the bills and keep­ing the doors open. Bor­row­ing the term from The E‑Myth book, he was work­ing in his busi­ness, not on it. We had lit­tle com­plaints dur­ing those ear­li­er years. We lived con­ser­v­a­tive­ly and with lit­tle or no debt, but my dad’s busi­ness was­n’t going any­where. It was­n’t thriv­ing. Then one day my dad hired his first con­sult­ing firm. The first guys charged a lot of mon­ey and did noth­ing. Ok, so that was anoth­er mis­take. He did­n’t give up hope. He want­ed to run a suc­cess­ful busi­ness and have some­thing to sell or give to his kids some­day. So he hired anoth­er short-term con­sult­ing firm. This one was a lot bet­ter. Then in the mid 1990s, he final­ly land­ed a good con­sult­ing rela­tion­ship with a local firm and got his busi­ness work­ing for him. He raised his prices (after dis­cov­er­ing he was not charg­ing enough). Sales go down? Just the oppo­site! He cre­at­ed an employ­ee hand­book, busi­ness sys­tems, a hir­ing process, paint­ing sys­tems, a mar­ket­ing plan and much more. What was the result? A well run busi­ness that has become one of the most prof­itable and steady paint­ing com­pa­nies in San Diego. In short, he has cre­at­ed a great place to work. He also kept his busi­ness con­sul­tant and recent­ly added a finan­cial con­sul­tant to his team. My dad told me he did not start mak­ing mon­ey and run­ning a busi­ness he was proud of until he hired a good con­sul­tant. His cur­rent con­sul­tant acts more like a coach now, as the prob­lems are dwin­dling but he still needs account­abil­i­ty. Your Expe­ri­ence with a Coach or Consultant What has been your expe­ri­ence work­ing with a coach or con­sul­tant? Have you found it to be help­ful? Why or Why Not? Let me know your thoughts on this sub­ject. If you have nev­er hired a con­sul­tant, will you con­sid­er doing so in the near future? 

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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