How to choose the best coach for you.

How to get the best support to help you to resolve your dilemma.

Executive coaching and sales mentoring BristolA question we are often posed here at the Business CoPilot. But the question is usually posed in a slightly different way. It’s usually more subtle.

“What can you do for me?” or  “How can you help me?” might be the way the question is framed, but the underlying question is actually something like this.

“I am not sure what I want and am equally unsure how you can help. The terms coach, consultant, mentor, advisor don’t help clarify the situation for me. What can I do to resolve this uncertainty?”

Given that you have a specific problem, here is my take on the differences between these terms.

  • Coach – helps you to do it for yourself
  • Consultant – does it for you
  • Mentor –  shows you how to do it, as they have done it before
  • Advisor – gives you advice specific to the problem

Imagine then you have a specific problem with say improving sales.

As a coach I would help you to define the problem, work with you to develop possible solutions that work for you, help you to decide which solution you want to take and then work with you to make it happen. It doesn’t really matter that I have sales experience (which I have), it is more important that I have coaching experience.

As a consultant I would work with you to determine the problem, define a solution and then implement all or part of the solution.

As a mentor I would help you to define the problem, then using my experience in managing complex sales teams, I would suggest ways ahead, obstacles that would be faced and how to get around them.

As a sales advisor, I would offer advice as to how to go about solving the dilemma but would not get involved with the implementation.

So long as the problem is about sales these answers above are relevant. But not in all situations. If the problem was about the impact on the balance sheet of a certain course of action, or about the best way of implementing a tax efficient benefits package, I could coach but not act in any other capacity.

The answer to the question then might be something like this. The it being the problem.

“I want to sort it out myself with some support.” – you need a coach.

“I want to get someone else to sort it out but want it to be right.” – you need a consultant.

“I want to be shown how to do it by someone who has been there before.” – you need a mentor.

“I want to understand what is required to sort it and will do the rest myself.” – you need an advisor.

Hope that helps. What is your take on it?

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