What is the Difference Between a Coach and a Consultant?

Essentially, coaching is about process while consulting is about function.


Typically, a consultant demonstrates expertise in one or a discrete number of business areas and tends to focus on those areas.  They tend to do the work required themselves, with little interface with the business owner team.


A coach typically has a broad knowledge and experience in most business areas and deliberately considers all aspects of the business, the interrelationship among them, and the impact any change in one area will have on the others.  The coach leads the business owner team to do the work.


Just as in, say, sports coaching, the coach brings his training, experience and knowledge to the game and its players.  But it's the players who carry out the strategies and tactics on the field or court, with the new skills they've learned.  At the same time, the coach remains fully engaged and active, on the sidelines, with full support as the team members execute the game plan that has been devised.

I'm Concerned About Confidentiality, Since Sensitive Information is Shared With You

We hold all information received from a client in the strictest confidence.  No information about any client is relayed to any other party with the specific approval of the business owner.  We provide a signed copy of our Confidentiality Agreement to the business owner at the time of contract signing.

Do You Offer a Guarantee?

While we can guarantee that we will be able to identify solutions that work to satisfy the wants and needs of the business owner to meet their vision and goals, we are not the decision-maker.  Decisions are entirely the prerogative of the owner.  We offer advice, but don't make your decisions.  If an owner does not accept our advice, or with acceptance does not implement the solution, then we have no way of guaranteeing results.


Our experience is that many of us prefer not to make changes but rather tend to let exisitng conditions continue.  For the assistance of a business coach to be effective, the business owner must be willing to make changes.

What Are Your Contract/Fee Arrangements?

Contract for Services

  • We firmly believe that the relationship between the business owner and us must be one of trust and confidence by each party, with each party.  With that concept as a given, the "contract' we use is a rather simple letter of agreement that in essence describes how the two parties will work together and how invoicing and payments will be handled.  The letter agreement in fact does not authorize any services to be provided by SBA.
  • When the business owner is ready for the services of SBA, these services are defined in a specific task order delineating the services to be provided, the time frame in which the services are to be provided, and an agreement on the compensation to SBA.  Only with a mutually agreed upon task order will SBA provide services.


Coaching Fee Arrangements


We prepare task orders under two distinct types of fee arrangements:  Fixed Fee or Time Spent.

  • A Fixed Fee arrangement is the preferred method, but must be based on an agreed-upon defined scope of work, over a specific time frame.
  • For optimum results, our Business Support Program is designed as a longer-term process of support and resolution, with a suggested time period of one year.  Typically, our coaching support will vary from 1 to 4 hours per week, but on occasion the time committed will fall outside this range.
  • The one-year period is suggested in order to provide sufficient calendar time for the business owner and SBA to develop viable solutions, implement those solutions, and then evaluate the solutions to ensure they do in fact work, or make modifications if required.  Our commitment to the owner is 12 months; however, the owner may cancel at any time. 
  • Where the scope of work and/or the time frame cannot be fully defined, a Time Spent arrangement is the preferred method. 
  • Where this is the case, we suggest weekly meetings between the parties to review what has been accomplished by each party over the preceding week as compared to what was planned, the number of hours expended, and then plan the following week's work.  In this manner, both parties remain fully informed as to what is being done at what expense.
  • Our fees are entirely dependent upon the number of hours needed to assist the owner, based on the breadth and detail of work desired by the owner, how much of the work the owner and staff will perform with our assistance, and how quickly the owner wants to accomplish the work.

James F. (Jim) Smith Managing Principal

Smith Business Advisors, LLC

Mail: 151 N. Nob Hill Road, #117

Plantation, FL 33324

(Greater Fort Lauderdale Area)

Phone:  954.383.5602

Email:  jsmith@sbacoach.net


Business coaching is a tax-deductible business expense.

View James F. Smith's profile on LinkedIn

James F. Smith is an accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent Business.

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