Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?
“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.
Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.
At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.
You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.
Hi! I’m Jacob Aldrich, Director of Advisory at businessDEPOT. If you’ve ever gone looking for strategic support for your business, you probably come across all of these terms and you might be wondering, ‘What is the difference between a business coach, and a consultant, and a trainer, a facilitator or a mentor?’, and importantly, based on those differences, which is right for me and my businesses? So, I thought, based on my years of experience, I would share with you what the key differences are between those five and ultimately why that may not matter.
Let’s start at the top with a facilitator. The role of the facilitator is to ask key questions without having any ownership of the outcome you’re going to create and that’s generally in a one-to-many space. You’ll have someone come in and facilitate a workshop for example, where they don’t drive and present the content, they will just ask and lead the conversation.
A business coach, the pure coaching methodology is somebody who asks questions and does not give information. The green are the asked disciplines. The blues are the tell. So, a pure business coach will not tell, they will only ask. They come from the premise that all the answers sit within you, the business owner and all they must do is ask the right questions. It’s because of that, my experience with several hundred business owners over the years, that I know that business coaching, when done properly is a complete waste of time. Because business owners don’t know what they don’t know, having a coach ask you questions about your best tax strategy is a complete waste of time and effort.
A business consultant is somebody who comes in and tells you that they are the expert. Now the easiest way to think about that is something like a tax account or an IT consultant. Well, you really do want them to come in and bring their expertise. They’re not going to ask you for your opinion particularly because they know that their consulting, they’re giving you the answers.
A trainer will also bring a process and the answers to a solution to the to the questions you might be asking. And again, like a facilitator, a trainer is generally a one-too-many-space. So, they will come in with their material and run through a process from that tell-giving rather than asking you to try to draw out of you.
Last is a mentor. A mentor, by definition, is somebody who has walked this path before and is sharing, telling you their experience based on what they did. One of the challenges of a mentor is even if they are from the same industry or similar business size to you, their experience may be out of date. With a mentor, it’s critical to find somebody who understand how your business in your industry is going today, rather than just giving you war stories from history.
I’ll run through those very briefly again. A facilitator will ask questions of a group to take them on a process with no ownership in the outcome. A coach will ask questions from you without giving any answers. A consultant will give you all the answers without asking any questions from you. A trainer will tell walk through a process in a one-to-many environment, and a mentor will share tell their experience.
Which of those is right for you? Well, the reality is, in the modern world, all five of these a marketing term more than advisory disciplines. Most business coaches know that pure coaching is a waste of time, and so they interspersed it with a degree of consulting where they will bring some of the solutions. If they’ve got experience your industry, they might sit in a mentor space. You’ll generally be able to find people with this experience are great at running a training presentation and even facilitating a session where it’s just drawing the information out of the group and getting them a line and on the one page.
In other words, the best business advisors are ones to understand the difference between these disciplines but are also trained and able to deliver in various ones to make sure that at any given point in time they’re working with you and your business, and the methodology is going to give you the best return on investment.
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