Peter Boolkah. Business Coach.
Peter Boolkah is a world renowned business coach with over 30 years experience. He specialises in working with CEO's and individuals to grow their businesses.

Member Article

The difference between a business coach and a business mentor.

A government study estimates that there are currently 19,000 mentors across up to 400 organisations in England. We hear the term business mentor and business coach a lot. So, what is the difference? A mentor is more of an advisor and a coach acts as a kind of trainer and helps you practice, in order to hone skills. I believe that a good business coach or business mentor should include both those qualities. There is still so much skepticism in the UK surrounding the business coaching industry. I believe this is due to a lack of understanding as well as a lack of regulation which gives rise to unscrupulous coaches who cannot deliver. I meet people all the time who feel that hiring a business coach reflects their weaknesses. Working with a business coach is the opposite. It shows that you have already identified a need to grow your business and are enlisting professional help, which is in fact showing strength and foresight.

There are comparisons and parallels to be drawn between sports coaching and business coaching. If you are trying to get fit you very often hire a personal trainer to speed the process up. At a basic level we all know that to get fit we need to eat healthily and move more. However, a professional trainer can tailor a programme to support you. The programme will draw from their expertise in all aspects of fitness training. Their experience then assesses your individual and specific needs and you have a programme of support to get you where you need to be. It is unlikely that without the level of expertise of a personal trainer you would reach your goals effectively. A personal trainer is often something to boast about. It shows you have the extra cash available to hire someone to enrich your health and wellbeing. The same should be seen with business coaching. If you are investing in your business with coaching it shows you are in a strong position already.

Athletes hire coaches to allow them to compete. At a higher level a professional athlete will always have a coach. The better the coach, the more they succeed. It is very likely that without a coach, at that level, they would not even be competing. A coach cannot do the job for you but they can give you the tools to do the job yourself. A gym coach is never going to do the exercises on the horse for you, but he will give you advice on how to use your gymnastic talent to do the movements on the horse to the highest of your ability. If he did the exercises for the gymnast they would not win the medals. In business terms you are the expert in your field. You want to grow your expertise and therefore your business. If a coach comes in and does the work for you then it will not benefit you in any way. If you want someone to take care of growing your business for you, you hire a consultant. A business consultant will make the big decisions for you but when they go, you are left having made none of the changes. You will no longer be the expert in your own business. If you want support to grow your business and keep your autonomy then a business coach is the way forward.

How do you decide on the right coach for you. What do you need help with in your business or as an individual running that business? Do you need a coach to help you with your confidence or educate you? Many business owners I work with need an accountability coach. As a business owner you are very much at the top of the food chain. You are your own boss. You answer to nobody. When you are working in a corporate environment, you always have somebody pushing you, setting you targets to reach. As a CEO or entrepreneur you are relying on your own motivation. Some people are very self-disciplined and can push themselves but many do not. Many CEOs need to be pushed to work on the areas of the business they are proactively avoiding but hold the key to growth. Most people build their business by working on the parts they are really strong at. That gets you so far in business but then the other parts of the business that you are avoiding start to drag you down. You have to address those parts rather than avoid them.

If you are thinking about hiring a coach you need to do your due diligence. Find out how much CPD and continued learning that coach does yearly. Ask them to demonstrate it. If a coach is not constantly learning then they are not growing or learning. They will not be able to help you and your business grow. You may be thinking that a coach is the right way forward but still doubting if it is the right time or if you can afford it. There is a coach out there for everyone. Many successful business entrepreneurs have coaches, Steve Jobs had a coach, Larry Ellison’s got one. In the beginning they started just like you.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy Hood .

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