7 Key Differences: Business Coach vs Consultant

Written by Chris Scully
Published on September 28, 2023

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Selecting the right guidance and expertise to help grow your business will make all the difference in your long-term success. Understanding the distinct roles and benefits of working with a business coach compared to a business consultant is essential. Making the right choice between the two for your company's specific needs can put you on the path to achieving your goals efficiently. 

Below, we outline seven significant differences between business coaches and consultants, which businesses, especially contractor businesses, must consider.

What is a Business Coach?

A business coach primarily focuses on the personal and professional growth of the business owner. They offer mentorship, maintain an ongoing relationship with their clients, and provide personalized guidance tailored to specific needs and challenges. Coaches emphasize the bigger picture, aiming for long-term business success. They work closely with the client throughout the execution of strategies, holding them accountable for results.

What is a Business Consultant?

Business consultants operate with expertise in specific fields, analyzing business challenges and providing tailored solutions based on their specialized knowledge. Typically, a consultant is engaged for fixed, short-term projects. They diagnose issues, recommend solutions, and may or may not involve themselves in the hands-on implementation process. Consultants provide solutions in their area of expertise based on industry standards and best practices, focusing on short-term objectives or specific project outcomes.

Now, let’s use a metaphor to understand the difference between a business coach and business consultant.

  • Business Consultant: Like a botanist analyzing a garden, a business consultant examines and provides a tailored plan for optimal growth. The execution is up to you to follow through and make your garden flourish based on these recommendations.
  • Business Coach: Similar to a gardening mentor, a coach guides and works alongside you through every season, nurturing the garden and refining your skills.

Let’s further explore the differences between business coaches and consultants and how you can decide which professional is right for your company.

Difference #1: Objective


A consultant analyzes a business, identifies issues related to their field of expertise, and offers solutions to resolve those issues. They view the company through the lens of their area of expertise, aiming to address specific problems.


A coach works more holistically. They work with the business owner to help them grow personally and professionally. They focus on the big picture of long-term business success through mentorship and accountability.

Difference #2: Engagement


Consultants usually work on fixed, short-term projects focused on a specific issue. Their active engagement may end once they provide their recommendations.


Coaches develop longer-term relationships with business owners, maintaining regular communication to ensure strategies are implemented successfully through consistent accountability.

Difference #3: Implementation


While consultants offer solutions, they do not necessarily get involved in the hands-on process of implementing changes. The business owner is left to implement recommended changes.


A coach collaborates closely with the client throughout implementation to guide the proper execution of new strategies and plans tailored to the business. The business owner still has to do the implementation. The coach ensures they do it correctly.

Difference #4: Personalization


Business consultants may provide more generalized solutions based on textbook strategies and industry best practices.


Coaches personalize their guidance to teach business owners specific needs, challenges, and goals for a custom-fit growth plan. Coaches also highlight what the business owner should maintain and build upon, recognizing what is going well in the business.

Difference #5: Accountability


Once a consultant delivers their recommended strategies, ongoing accountability is not necessarily a focus.


A vital role of a coach is to hold the client accountable for implementing changes, meeting milestones, and realizing established goals through consistent communication and reviews.

Difference #6: Problem-Solving


Consultants rely heavily on analysis and their expertise to identify problems and solutions. Their approach is more directive and considered a “top-down” approach.


Coaches enable clients to self-discover solutions through pointed guidance questions, acting as mentors versus strictly advisors promoting learning and development.

Difference #7: Outcome Focus


A business consultant generally targets short-term solutions or specific project outcomes.

Business Coach

Coaches keep the big picture in mind - the business owner's lifelong growth and larger vision for sustained success.

why you need a business coach

When to Choose a Business Coach vs. Consultant

Business Coaches

  • Use a business coach to guide long-term business growth and development. A coach can provide ongoing mentorship, accountability, and a bigger-picture perspective to help you achieve lasting success.
  • If you need help building business infrastructure like systems, processes, and organization, a coach would be more suited to work with you on implementation over time.
  • A coach is the better choice to nurture growth for personal development as a leader and training in business skills like sales, marketing, and team building.
  • If the goal is evolving your business identity, vision, branding, and strategy, a coach provides holistic guidance for transformative change.
  • Choose a coach to improve team dynamics, leadership coaching, and communication enhancement across the company.

Business Consultants

  • Hire a consultant for expertise and recommendations on resolving a specific, immediate business issue. Their analytical approach can provide solutions to address short-term problems.
  • If you need an objective analysis of a business area that requires specialized expertise, like a financial audit, a consultant could provide targeted insight.
  • A consultant can advise when you have a one-time project like a website overhaul, facility expansion, or IT upgrade.

Overall, align the professional based on your priorities - short-term troubleshooting or long-term mentored growth. Coaches and consultants provide tremendous value in business, just in different areas.

Unlocking Success: Why Your Choice Matters

Have you identified which professional suits your current business needs?

Making an informed decision to work with a business coach or consultant tailored to your needs can significantly benefit your construction company's growth and success. Selecting the professional service that aligns best with your business goals, challenges, and priorities will allow for more efficient and effective implementation of strategies.

When you take the time to understand the main differences between the two types of business experts, you can determine which approach suits your situation better. Choosing the right advisor ensures you get guidance that fits your objectives, maximizing your chances of executing recommended changes smoothly.

An informed choice paves the way for efficiently achieving your desired business outcomes through the optimal type of professional support.


Understanding the key distinctions between business coaches and consultants is essential for contractors looking to grow their businesses. Reflect on your specific goals and challenges to determine which professional guidance aligns best. An informed decision leads to remarkable outcomes.

Call Action Management Pros!

Ready to take your business to the next level? Book a consultation call with Action Management Pros to get expert contractor coaching tailored to your needs. With over 23 years of experience consulting and coaching contractors, we help unlock lasting success. Schedule a call today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Can a consultant be a coach?

Yes, there can be overlap. A consultant can certainly take on a coaching role and vice versa. However, it's essential to understand the primary focus of each role. While a consultant generally provides expert advice and solutions, a coach works more closely with clients to guide and mentor them throughout the implementation process. This approach ensures increased accountability and carryover into the business.

  1. What is the difference between a coach, consultant, and mentor?
  • Coach: A coach works with clients to help them identify their goals and then supports them in achieving those goals through guidance, encouragement, and accountability. They often facilitate self-discovery and personal growth.
  • Consultant: A consultant is an expert in a specific field hired to analyze problems and offer solutions. Their primary role is to provide advice based on their expertise.
  • Mentor: A mentor is someone with experience in a particular area who offers guidance, support, and advice to less experienced individuals. The mentoring relationship is usually long-term and is more informal than coaching or consulting.
  1. Who qualifies as a consultant?

A consultant is typically someone with expertise in a particular field or industry who offers their knowledge to help businesses or individuals solve specific problems. They may have formal education, certifications, and extensive experience in their expertise.

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