The Benefits Of Coaching For Business Owners

+ How Coaching Is Different Than Consulting?

Over the course of meeting with hundreds of business owners about their coaching needs, we’ve found that when getting started there’s one big piece that is confusing: What’s the difference between a business coach vs. a business consultant? And do I need to hire one of each?

In this article, we will outline the different roles played by each position and the importance of each.

What’s the difference between
A Business Coach
A Business Consultant

While these phrases are sometimes used interchangeably in everyday conversation, this is actually a misnomer.

A business coach’s role (much like an athletic coach’s role) is to constantly research and study the “game” of business, work to develop playbooks, roadmaps, and techniques that each business owner and key leader (players) can follow, and then show up enthusiastically and repetitiously on a predetermined schedule to create the necessary conditioning through accountability and implementation.  

A business coach works with the business owner and key leaders both in season and out of season and their outcomes are tied directly to the goals set out through long term vision casting.

For a business coach, it is more important that they study and coach the foundation of business than it is that they have specific industry knowledge.

Business coaching by definition will be ingrained across all systems of the business.  Of course there are situations where a business coach may drill down into specific niches of the business, for instance, a marketing coach, or a sales coach.

Business coaching tends to focus more on the accountability and implementation of long term systems and processes, and less on short term strategies that could change quickly.

Generally though, even though they identify as a coach, those niche roles are more appropriately defined as consultants…consulting in specific areas. 

The business consultant is typically a current or retired industry-professional with decades of experience within their given field.  If you own an ice cream shop, then you would hire an ice cream shop consultant.  If you own a steel rigging and erecting business, then you would hire a steel rigging and erecting consultant.  

The business consultant tends to bring a portfolio of best practices from their industry into a specific area of your business (i.e. accounting, or operational efficiency) and then advises on how to integrate those best practices into your day to day process. 

Business consulting tends to focus more on mapping out a strategy of ideas, and less on accountability.  

Business consultants tend to work more on a “fly-in, fly-out” contractual agreement where they come in for a defined period of time, say 6 months or 12 months for example, and then their contract is fulfilled.

Identifiable differences between
Business Coaches vs. Business Consultants:

Business COACH


 Focused on the underlying foundation, or the less obvious structure of the business (vision, mission, values, systems, processes)

Focused on a narrow niches of the business (leadership, sales, accounting, etc.)

Defined, written, customized game plans and roadmaps based on historical and current business study and principles

A deep treasure-box of defined best practices and “hacks” from decades of invaluable industry experience

Principle first (Timeless)

Strategy first (Time Sensitive)

Return On Investment (Outcomes): Vision attainment (vROI), Relational growth (rROI), Cash profit/financial growth (fiROI), and Freedom from chaos growth (fROI)

Return On Investment (Outcomes): Delivery of a “toolbox” of strategic best practices and other defined metrics

Commitment: long term engagement leading to long term transformation

Commitment: could be either short or long term engagement

While very different roles, both the business coach and business consultant can work closely together, and both are invaluable to the growth and maturity of a business owner and their key leader(s).

At Business On Purpose, we are business coaches laboring in the long term game of liberating business owners from the chaos of working IN their business, so they can spend more time working ON their entire business and make time for what matters most.

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at