The Key Differences Between Business Management Consulting and Business Coaching


There are over 600,000 management consultants in the United States alone, and the consulting industry employs over 2 million people. With such high numbers, there’s clearly plenty of demand for consulting help.

If you’re thinking of bringing in a consultant to help you grow your business, you might be wondering whether a consultant or a coach is the right choice. Let’s look at the difference between management consulting and business coaching to help you decide.

What is Management Consulting?

Management consultants are experts in your company’s industry who will come in to help you find ways to make your business more efficient. They can help you increase productivity, increase sales, set goals, and many other important tasks.

Consultants don’t just provide advice though. They also help implement the plans that you lay out together by working alongside your company’s employees.

What is Business Coaching?

Business coaching is less about providing specific advice and more about helping you find opportunities and optimize your business’ performance on your own.

A business coach studies your business from an outside perspective and makes suggestions for ways you can improve. They don’t do any of the actual work though — that’s up to you and your employees.

A business coach is similar to the coach of a sports team. They don’t play the game but instead help develop strategies and get the most out of their players.

What Consulting and Coaching Have in Common

Business consulting and coaching have several factors in common, including:

  • They are not an employee of the company they’re working with
  • They’re paid a fee in exchange for their feedback and potentially their hands-on assistance
  • They can offer an objective perspective without any internal conflicts or biases

The key factor here is that they’re not part of the company so they can offer a fresh take on what needs to be done.

How the Two Types of Business Support Differ

Coaching and consulting have several differences as well, including:

  • Different approaches to how they help — consultants take a more active role in the implementation
  • A business coach works with an individual in most cases where a consultant looks at the entire organization
  • Consultants deal with processes, strategies, and specific aspects of the company’s operation
  • Consultants often deal with specific roadblocks or problems in a company’s operation

The bottom line is that a coach works with one person or a small group where a consultant looks at as much of the company as you would like. That could be a specific department or division or it could be the entire operation.

Which is the Right Choice for Your Business?

Is management consulting or business coaching the right choice for your company? Only you can make that decision but if you’re looking for input on the entire company, consider hiring a consultant. If you want to improve your management skills, a coach might be the best choice.

Be sure to browse through our Business Online category for more helpful articles about running a successful business.


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