Business Coaches, Consultants & Strategists
What's the Difference? Plus, some #realtalk
First, the #realtalk
A common conversation I have with attendees at the workshops I speak at has to do with business coaching. Knowing who to work with can be really confusing.
It seems like you cannot get a few scrolls into Facebook or Instagram without seeing an ad of a “Business Coach” promising that their next webinar will solve all of your business's problems—and then wrap up with a pitch to their course or coaching with them. It's pretty standard.
You've got the ones sitting at a café in Paris, the ones in Bali renting a mini palace, the nonchalant videos in front of jet planes.
Then you have the ones who shame the ones I just mentioned above and talk about how it's not about money (until they pitch their program), but about “authenticity”, usually focus on being debt-free (a la Dave Ramsey) and have videos that feel like a testimony shown last Sunday at church.
Do you know what I'm talking about?
Of course, you do. (And I can poke fun because I'm one of them, ha!)
But the challenge for you is to sift throughout the noise and find the people who can really help you in your business.
I'll be totally transparent with you. I am a Business Strategist—I kind of feel like you already knew that, I hope. And in Part Three of this series if you want to work with me, I'll show you how.
But here's the catch, I think there are 100 other awesome people who can also help you who may have marketing photos of them sitting by the Eiffel Tower in a ballgown or a hipster video of them hugging a perfectly styled group of diverse individuals.
Proving yourself as a legit educator has gotten harder and harder with all the noise—as much as I like to poke fun, even at myself, you can't judge a book by its cover...or a coach by their marketing materials. Also, unfortunately, there are more good marketers out their than good coaches/consultants.
And you may be thinking, shouldn't a good coach have great marketing materials? Yes. But, (geez...I'm just ripping bandaids off right at the beginning here, huh?) a lot of people lie.
A lot of people preach 6-figure launches when they've never hit a 5-figure launch. People preach success, then come to me with the lingering debt, aka the cost, of appearing successful.
It's hard to compete, even if you're a great marketer, when the competition lies.
However, it's not all that way. Repeat: Not everyone lies, just a small, but unfortunately loud group.
For every scammer, there are five awesome life-changing strategists. There are people who are helpful, who have really great content and may really be debt-free or really do jet-set around the world. Many who preach about their success are being honest.
Again, it can just be hard to navigate and discern who is the real deal nowadays when it's so easy to appear successful.
So, I wanted to share an educational series of posts on
The Differences Between a Business Coach, Consultant and Strategist
How to Navigate the Noise and Find a Good Educator
Plus, 3 Ways to Work With Me
Why am I being so honest? This past year, nearly half of my clients and about a third of my Editor's Course students have come to me after being burned by a coach (or course) who did not serve, but instead tried to upsell them throughout their experience or refer them to an affiliate program. Do I have a problem with upsells or affiliate programs? No, although I choose not to do them(...full transparency, my past students can choose a monetary thank you if they refer someone, or otherwise I send them fancy candles or gift boxes.) But I do have a problem when that is the answer to a student's problem. For $XXX, I'll tell you how to find the answer for $XXX more. No. That's not serving your client. That's a scam.
Am I a perfect business owner or educator? No. No one is. But there are some key principles that I think can really help you navigate the noise and find some help that can really transform your business.
What is a Business Coach?
A business coach is like Yoda. They don't teach you exact strategies or specific ways to solve a problem, but usually focus on the bigger problems.
Do you have a mental block or insecurity keeping you from performing your best? Do you have an unhealthy relationship to money? Are you constantly battling fear or analysis paralysis? A good coach can help you overcome those things so you can move on in your business.
I do a lot of coaching when I speak at workshops. Sometimes I can do a little group coaching in my presentation, but oftentimes it's at dinner or a mini 1:1 between sessions I'll be able to help someone think about their blocks in a different way or provide some clarity they can take home and work on on their own.
I also share coaching ideas freely on my podcast, The Creative Well.
Here's a few reviews from the first few episodes if you're curious about listening in:
What is a Business Consultant?
A business consultant is more like a teacher. They assume you're not fighting any blocks and expect you to have clarity on what you want to achieve. Therefore, their job is to show you the systems and tactics for improving your performance. This would be like editing your workflow to be more efficient or your company's budget making sure you're allocating funds properly or reorganizing your schedule to maximize your energy and priorities.
Most of my consulting, or teaching, is done in Editor's Course. Why? Because I think it's financially more viable for someone to learn specific methods and systems through a course than 1:1 consulting.
If I taught everything I teach in Editor's Course only in 1:1 sessions it would cost you around $20,000+, but the program (all 20 modules, group coaching & mastermind retreat) is only $2,650. I go over everything from your business model, budgets, pricing, marketing, growth hacks, social media—every single facet of your business.
Here's a little shameless plug:
Curious about Editor's Course?
My 2019 programs open for enrollment in November, but those on the waiting list get a special discount and early access.
Also, we've sold out 4 years in a row, so if you're interested you should probably go ahead and get on the waiting list.
What is a Business Strategist?
Some have described a business strategist as someone who does both coaching and consulting to help clients achieve a specific goal. I like to think of this as someone who serves as a very wise and knowledgable partner to help you produce something specific like launching your business or debuting a new product.
I only take 1:1 clients as a Business Strategist.
Why? Because I feel like people can get good coaching through free content like blogs, podcasts or some of those free webinars I aforementioned. And if you need to be taught something, I think courses are more cost-efficient.
However, there are definitely exceptions, always. If you have a really difficult and personal block, a coach would be a good idea (a certified therapist or specialty counsellor may even be better in some cases) ; or, if you have a very industry-specific challenge in your business's workflow to figure out a consultant (specific to your need or industry) would be great.
But for me, I think investing in 1:1 sessions is the best idea when you need help launching something specific or need someone to walk you through a successful production-to-market concept. This is where I thrive, because I have produced service-based and product-based ideas successfully to various markets. I have not just the knowledge, but also the empathy, required to help someone through their first or a new endeavor.
*Learn more about my 1:1 session style, options, rates and how to work with me in the third part of this series here.
Oh yeah, what is a Business Mentor?
While not as popular, a business mentor can be a great help to your business, although I would caution you to be very discerning—not in who you choose to mentor you necessarily, but how you take their advice.
A business mentor is someone who is doing exactly what you want to do and you hire them to walk you through how they achieved their success. Typically, they will share their exact marketing, pricing and production process.
Sounds amazing, right? You get the exact playbook of someone who is doing what you want to do, hooray!
But hold it, just a minute.
There is no arguing how valuable a business mentorship can be, but it is only as valuable as HOW you use the information given to you.
***Please, please pay attention to what I'm going to share.***
Do not copy and paste what a business mentor shares with you into your business. Why? Because it will not work. It may for a short time, but what happens when you reach your mentor's level and you become competitors (and it will happen...again, I need to write a whole blog post on that) and your market cannot tell you apart because you run your business the exact same? Then it just becomes a game of who will price lower or who will have to put in the elbow grease to redefine themselves.
Now some of you may argue that it is your creativity that sets you apart, but unfortunately, the kind of new businesses who copy and paste their mentor's formula also oftentimes start copying their designs. It kind of opens the door to bad behavior, even unintentionally or unknowingly.
So what do you do with a mentor's advice and exact formulas? You study them, you try them on for size, then adjust and make them your own so the market can clearly set you apart.
You make it your own.
A business mentorship is so valuable, but try to find a mentor, or give yourself the challenge, to not just learn their process, but learn how to interpret it in your own unique way.
This is favorite quote I tell clients, Editor's Course students and those asking me about education to remember while looking for a coach or course and how to apply what they learn: