What’s the Difference Between a Business Coach and an Executive Coach… and Which Do I Need?

by Howard Shore, Date: Jun 12, 2017

What’s the Difference Between a Business Coach and an Executive Coach… and Which Do I Need?

Business Coaching vs. Executive Coaching

When considering Executive or Business Coaching, you may find you need one, the other, or both. There are some similarities and vast differences between a business coach and executive coach. Regardless of type, the coach is not there to provide answers or solutions. With coaching, the premise is that the leadership team or person being coached already possesses enough knowledge, skills and capacity to develop the strategies and lead the organization, but has yet to reach their full-potential. The best outcomes usually occur when the coach does not provide you with any advice and causes transformation in individuals, teams, and organizations.

What is Business Coaching?

A business coach brings processes, tools, and concepts to help facilitate team and organizational growth.

In the case of Business Coaching, the Coach brings processes, tools, and concepts to help facilitate team and organizational growth. The methodology causes a shift in the way that you and your team view the challenges they face. The goal is to create that shift in view to cause the management team to develop different strategies, make better people decisions, be more focused, strengthen the culture, be more accountable, and better align the entire organization. For example, I have a client that, after nine months of taking them through a process and some hard questions, changed a $10 million business that had negative cash flow to one that produced over $1.5 million in cash. More importantly, that shift in strategy, people, and execution caused a sustainable business model designed to produce 20% net cash flows annually. Most importantly, all the ideas came from the organization and their leadership team.

What is Executive Coaching?

An executive coach helps individuals unlock their own leadership potential by increasing self awareness and improving their effectiveness as a leader.

The Executive Coach’s role is to help individuals unlock their own potential, and is not about teaching or showing the way. The Executive Coach helps the person being coached discover areas where their beliefs, motives, values, and/or personality traits are causing them to be less effective as a leader. The biggest part of coaching is helping the person being coached become self-aware. Research has shown that the higher the position, the higher the gap in self-awareness. A good example is a COO that I worked with that the CEO appreciated because “things got done.” However, the problem the CEO was trying to ignore was that no one else on the leadership team wanted to work with the COO, a person who had no empathy, demonstrated passive-aggressive traits, and was steamrolling everyone else in the organization. Eventually no one would cooperate with the COO, and things got really heated. The COO could not see things from anyone else’s perspective.

What Makes an Ideal Coach?

Do you ever wonder what an Executive Coach does? I get this question all the time. An Executive Coach’s job is to help you write your story. What do I mean by this? Whether you want to improve your business, career, or personal circumstances, the Coach’s role is to provide a forum and process to help you maximize your potential. In other words, as your story is unfolding, your Executive Coach’s job is to help you to write your best story, a great story. It is important that you work with someone that will help keep bias out of your story creation. Your story starts today, and you want to have unlimited possibilities. While writing your story, you will gain new wisdom and will need course corrections. Everyone’s story has surprises, and your Coach is there to help you through and to stay accountable as you reach your full potential!

A Good Coach Enters Your Story Without Bias

Your coaching relationship is one where you are given space to create. A good Coach enters your story without bias. Good coaches are not there to judge you, do not have expectations of you, and their only stake in the outcome is helping you achieve the goals of the engagement. While most everyone else in your life has good intentions, they usually also have bias. This bias causes them to consciously or unconsciously steer you in a direction that may not be in your best interests.

Here are some examples:

  • They may try to protect you by guiding you down safer paths because that is where their life choices have taken them.
  • They may suggest a different path because they think you are not capable of traveling the ideal path.
  • They may steer you in a different direction because of selfish motives. You will find even your closest colleagues to be selfish.

A coaching relationship brings you a blank canvas to work with. This does not mean you need or want to start over. It just means you should consider that your business, career, or personal circumstances should be whatever you want it to be. People mistakenly start from where they are rather than where they want to be. This thought process will always limit your possibilities. This is why working with people that know you well can be so limiting.

Coaching Helps Define Business Goals & Objectives

Given that your story start is in process and not certain, think of your possibilities. With the wisdom you have today, what do you want your business to look like? What would you want your career to look like? How would you like your personal story to unfold? As your Coach helps you write your story, they will first help you create a clear picture of what you want that story to be. This is hard work because it is not always easy to articulate and define what you want. This may take some time and need to be refined over time.

Once you have developed a clear picture of your story, you need to create an action plan. The action plan looks at long- and short-term objectives that need to be attained in order for your story to unfold. You do this by identifying the gap between where you are and where you are capable of being. Your Coach will help develop a series of 90-day goals that help lead you to achieving your full potential.

Everyone Needs a Coach

Like any worthy story, you will encounter surprises and obstacles. Your Coach is there to help you work through these challenges. They help you identify the midcourse corrections that are needed and help you stay accountable to your lofty goals.

Business and executive coaching is a personal thing. The fact that you are here and that you’ve read this far tells me that you want and/or need a Coach. However, finding the right Business Coach and Executive Coach isn’t easy. That is why I am offering a FREE, no-obligation consultation to see if we’re a good match. There is no hard sell. This is my gift to you. If you feel we’re a good match, we can discuss working together. If not, I will leave you with enough value that it will be more than worth your time. That is my promise.

To schedule your free consultation or to learn more about our coaching services, please contact us today or give us a call at (305)-722-7216.