Coaching or Consulting? There really is a difference?
At Virtual Point Solutions, we consultant and implement, but I’m often asked by prospective clients: What’s the difference between a coach and a consultant? Aren’t they really the same thing?
What business owners often don’t realize is that coaches and consultants do very different things.
Now this isn’t a blog post about which is better or who you need the most, but rather it’s meant to clarify the difference so that you, as a business owner, can make an informed choice.
So let’s start with consultants. Consultants often get a bad rap. They are often thought of as just something corporations use or for being stuffy old guys in suits that come in and tell you all the things you’re doing wrong in your business and then charge you thousands and leave.
Not true. Here is what a consultant really does.
We are experts in business! We have a deep knowledge of business and frequently specialize in specific areas, like operations, systems, automation or finance. We are problem-solving and solution-focused and often bring a technical expertise to advise and even work on short-term projects. Consultants usually require limited commitment from clients as we dig into your business and start looking into the details to help create a detailed plan for solutions.
Some of the types of work consultants do include:
- Business planning and strategy
- Growth development and product launching tools
- How to help shift business directions
- How to create efficient systems
- Automation to help you get things rolling
- Creating project management plans and helping you and your team execute them
Coaches, on the other hand, primarily work one-on-one with clients. They focus on helping the business owner or clients achieve personal or professional goals by working on mindset, confidence and goal-setting. Coaches often bring relationship expertise to the table and can help the client with their interpersonal skill set or challenges. Coaches can be generalists working with a wide variety of clients and topics.
Some of the types of work coaches do include:
- Helping their clients increase confidence
- Working on creating personal and professional goals and strengths
- Shifting mindset to help clarify the company vision
- Creating interpersonal dynamics in a team-based business
- Helping to foster strong, productive relationships
All too often, small business owners and entrepreneurs try and work on their businesses without help or support. They don’t recognize that there are people out there who can help them move mountains in their business. Whether you need a consultant or a coach, gaining traction in your business is critical. Reaching out for help can often save you time and money in the long run.
Dawn Sinkule, the Founder of Virtual Point Solutions, is an MBA graduate, Strategy and Business Growth Consultant as well as a Certified Online Business Manager with more than 16 years of corporate experience working for a Fortune 50 company. Dawn and her team work with passionate six figure business owners who want to grow, expand, and explode their businesses. Dawn and the VPS team provide your choice of self-implementation or fully done for you solutions, and both include detailed business strategies, automation, systems, and most importantly the satisfaction of knowing your business is heading the right direction. Her clients get not only the experience of a Fortune 50 leader, but also a personalized and customized strategy as well as an implementation team: AKA your secret weapon for success. Check out her website and grab her FREE 4 Systems you Never Knew You Needed to Crush Chaos and Put Profit First (finally!). Connect with Dawn and her team on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The greatest impact of an open, honest culture can be summed up in three little words – “in on it.”
The highest form of employee recognition in any organization is leadership’s acknowledgement that everyone plays a role in the organization’s success. Every employee wants and deserves to understand and actively participate in the company’s game plan.
In short, they just want to be “in on it.”
That’s the power of transparency, leveraging the company’s best assets – its people – toward improved profit margins.
I had been practicing an internal communication approach that blended business education and “company journalism” when my research led me to an insightful executive summary, The Art and Science of Employee Recognition, by organizational behavior experts Heidi Page and Debra LeClair. The key result of a major study involving tens of thousands of interviews was this – the number one talent retention tool is transparency, sharing and exchanging knowledge with employees. The study also found that companies that invest trust earn greater profits.
A more recent survey by Deloitte highlighted a key disconnect between the thinking of executives and their employees. The study showed that executives think financial performance and compensation are the most important factors in a strong company culture. Not surprisingly, that isn’t what employees say. The study said “employees rank regular and candid communications, employee recognition and access to management and leadership as having the largest impact.”
An easy way to leverage the power of transparency is through compelling forms of internal news to tell the company’s great employee and client success stories. I promise you – every employee has at least one interesting story that illustrates business success.
That is why companies with positive cultures likely have one or more master storytellers who have a passion for brand evangelism. You can trace their impact to the bottom line in the form of reduced employee turnover, retention of top talent and stronger sales support.
Mike Kohler, Communications Strategist Mike Kohler has been a business owner, executive and communications strategist for more than 30 years. He earned his MBA and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Mike co-authored The Educated Franchisee, a guide for prospective entrepreneurs, and has held leadership roles with numerous nonprofit, government and professional boards. Mike teaches strategic communications and employee engagement in America’s top online graduate program and advises young entrepreneurs in Colorado State University’s Venture Accelerator program.
Be visible with video!
Let me tell you a little story…. it’s almost embarrassing, but it’s true. I interacted in a FB group with somebody for weeks – commented on their posts, they commented on mine. Their profile photo was of a happy couple. Their name was Pat. One day Pat posted about the challenges of being a working mother… oops! I had made an assumption all this time that Pat was a man.
The other day, a friend posted on their FB timeline, “do you ever make up a voice for people on FB, based on their comments and profile photo?” It was a post meant in jest but the thread made for an interesting read…. am I making my point?
If you operate as an online entrepreneur it is critical, not optional that you are visible. Open your virtual door, greet people, let them see you and hear you. I am absolutely passionate about this. The internet provides huge and fantastic opportunities for us to operate with a global audience BUT who are you?
My first days in journalism (we’re stepping back in time a little, but I still have all my faculties) involved the click-click-click of typewriters (remember those?) and lots of phone calls. In other words, an immediate connection – even if only a voice, still a vibe, a conversation and if fruitful, it would lead to a meeting.
Now, it’s far too easy to hide. An eye catching website, fabulous copy (which you might have hired someone to write), a professionally taken profile photo – yes, the right photo to use, but it’s all so static and at the end of the day, impersonal. We are human beings, we like to interact – we love to talk, we enjoy connecting and if we want to do business – we want to know who it’s going to be with.
So we come to video. It’s hands down the most effective way for you to be visible – be authentic, build trust, reach out, engage an audience and connect. It’s a learning curve…. climb on the ladder.
Some really quick tips:
- Watch what’s out there…. take note of what grabs your attention and what makes you turn off before 10 seconds have passed by.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Record video with your phone, watch it, record again, get comfortable.
- Keep any video content focused. A promo/intro video should be 60seconds or less….”Hi, I’m ??, this is what I do and this is how I can help you.”
- Get level with your audience – my laptop sits on my ironing board so I have eye level with my audience!
- Eye contact is so important…. it’s not easy to speak direct to the camera on your phone, computer or ipad but it’s going to make all the difference – engage!
- What’s behind you? A pile of laundry or a glaring lightbulb is not going to do you any favours…. use your backdrop to reflect your brand? This can be done cheaply and creatively.
- Light yourself up! Natural daylight is fabulous.
- Don’t post until you’re satisfied – remember, this might be the first time a potential client sees/hears you. It doesn’t have to be a beautifully polished video but it will reflect your professionalism and service. Be patient – work on it!
Good luck – it’s worth it!
Fiona worked as a broadcast journalist for many years (TV/radio), moving to corporate communications and latterly running her own, successful video production business. Fiona has two teenagers, and is also a qualified Personal Trainer. Her mission with her new business ‘TalkSavvy’ is to support online entrepreneurs and business owners in being visible, authentic and transparent, via video.
Connect with Talk Savvy on Facebook.