Business Coaches Are Replacing Consultants. Is That Good?

Over the last few years, many companies have made a major change in their operations: ditching business consultants for business coaches.

While we won’t see business consultants going away for good, it’s clear that a lot of business executives and companies now come with different needs that coaching can fulfill much better than consultancy.

The key difference between the two lies in who will take the actual steps required for change. With business consultants, though some can provide coach-like support, it is common for these individuals to do the work and resolve the target problem. When it comes to coaching, the work is very much done by the person who receives the service.

But to understand why companies are moving from consulting to coaching, let’s take a closer look at each of them.

What Is Business Coaching?

Business coaches collaborate with owners, CEOs, and other actors in leadership and management positions in order to improve certain aspects that pertain both to the individual’s skills, and the company’s bottom line.

Coaches provide guidance and support to leaders and help them get the results they want both long-term and short-term.

For instance, they can:

  • Help leaders improve their communication skills
  • Assume the role of a mentor
  • Take a holistic approach when helping their clients
  • Guide clients through various processes, and help them overcome their challenges, etc.

What Is Business Consulting?

A business consultant is an expert in a specific discipline who provides their expertise for a company. For example, if a company wants to improve its IT systems, it may hire an IT consultant for more specialized support.

Business consultants will come in, analyze the issue at hand, and provide a solution designed to solve the issue. In some cases, they may even oversee the implementation of said solution.

Business consultants often:

  • Works in a project-based format
  • Focuses on business problems and not staff challenges
  • Creates an actionable plan to fix business problems, etc.

Why Are Companies Switching from Consultants to Coaches?

Consultants and coaches provide extremely different services. Yet, as companies are turning more and more to coaches for help, there seems to be a change in the needs that companies are looking to address.

Especially, the need to invest in people, not just the company operations. Business coaches work together with CEOs, leaders, and other key staff members to improve a company’s operation, yes, but the approach is vastly different here than in the case of a consultant.

The business coach helps the client improve their approach, enhance the skills they need for the job, and face challenges as a way to also enhance business operations. Companies now realize they need to invest in their people just as much as they invest in their operations.

Are Consultant Gigs Over?

Of course, there is a need for both. Consultants and coaches both provide essential services to improve a company’s health.

But the growing demand for coaches clearly shows that businesses are realizing they can’t ignore the need for stronger leadership anymore.

What Is Family Business Coaching, and Do You Need It?

Family businesses play a huge role in our nation’s economy, the fact remains that these types of companies can struggle to make ends meet. Whether it’s a small business that has been passed down through generations, or a multinational company, when it comes to family businesses, the “family” aspect is just as important as the “business” one.

And right now, family businesses are struggling. Most of them will shut down right before they reach their 3rd generation.

But on a positive note, there may be a way to prevent this from happening, thanks to the rise of something called “family business coaching”.

What Is Family Business Coaching?

Family business coaching offers support to help family businesses improve their operations and stay afloat. The coach can either work with an individual or a group to help the business improve its bottom line.

Family business coaches specialize in the unique challenges that most small family businesses face. Therefore, they can provide essential frameworks designed to be exclusively applicable within the context of a family business.

Not only that, but family business coaching handles the “family” aspect just as much as the “business”. Different generations can have different needs, expectations, and visions for the future. A family business coach helps the business navigate these differences to achieve optimal succession planning that can help the business live on even as it is transferred on to the next generation.

How a Family Business Coach Can Help

Family business coaches work to identify the key issues that affect a business’s performance, whether it has to do with the business itself, or something in the dynamic of the family.

Some areas where a family business coach may intervene include:

  • Family communication – In a family business, there is no way to ignore the simple fact that the way members communicate directly impacts business performance. A family business coach can help family members get on the same page and improve their communication;
  • Balancing values – One of the core elements of a family business is its values, as the business itself directly reflects the values of the family behind its helm. A coach can help family balance their values with current and future business needs;
  • Transition support – The moment when the business passes from one generation to the other is not just emotional, but it can have a negative impact on the company if it’s not done correctly. A coach can help plan this transition and prepare both the old and new generations as to what to expect during the transition, and how to handle it properly.

Do You Need a Family Business Coach?

A family business coach can help clients improve their business operations and strike a balance between company needs and family dynamics. While they will provide a lot of similar support as regular business coaches (improving communication, enhancing skill sets, etc.) their experience with family businesses specifically could prove extremely valuable in some cases.

Essentially, it doesn’t hurt to try, especially if the “family” component needs more support.

Helping Employees Get Through the Loneliness Epidemic

The world is going through a loneliness epidemic that started even before the COVID-19 pandemic distanced people even further from each other. Around 43% of people reported struggling with loneliness, and the effects can be felt across the board:

  • Social life
  • Happiness levels
  • Job performance
  • Even physical health

Loneliness can have severe impacts on an individual’s mental health especially. Companies looking to provide better wellness support to their employees may want to start with ways to combat this epidemic.

Should Companies Help Employees Feel Less Lonely?

For starters, let’s answer the question: is it the company’s job to fight against employee loneliness rates?

It’s well established that companies who offer their employees solid resources designed to support their wellness benefit from higher employee retention rates and manage to attract better-qualified people for new positions.

And in 2022 and going forward, helping combat loneliness is one of the pillars of wellness, as loneliness is known to be even worse for a person’s health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day or obesity.

Not just that, but being lonely can increase the risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Early mortality
  • Even cognitive decline

Loneliness affects a person’s outlook on life, their motivation, and can even slash job performance. Companies who want to invest in wellness programs for their employees must ensure that at least part of their efforts goes into countering the loneliness epidemic their teams already face.

How Can Companies Combat Employee Loneliness?

Creating opportunities where employees can connect and engage is one of the best ways for companies to tackle the loneliness epidemic. But because this issue can result in negative effects on many levels, a more comprehensive approach should cover a few key areas:

  • Physical health – Helping employees take care of their physical health, either through company-created programs or facilitated access to certain medical services is one of the major components of an employee wellness program, even one designed to combat loneliness specifically;
  • Mental health – Awareness regarding mental health is increasing, yet access to such services is still low. Companies who want to help employees combat loneliness can invest in mental health services;
  • Physical activity – Sports and an active lifestyle can improve both physical and mental health. Companies can offer discounts or paid memberships to sports centers, and gyms, or even conduct their own sporting activities and encourage company-wide participation;
  • Socialization – Be it through game nights, team buildings, or office parties, such informal activities can help employees connect with each other, build stronger relationships, and even feel less isolated from their peers;
  • Mentorship and coaching – Some employees could benefit from coaching programs designed to help them connect with their peers, teams, and even collaborators. These types of programs can assist the employee in learning essential life skills and growing confidence in their own abilities.

Loneliness doesn’t have a simple cure, nor can it be fixed rapidly.

However, if companies become aware of the problem, they can build a solid framework and help their employees navigate this new reality.

Bad Coaching Habits That Are A Huge Red Flag

Coaching can be a powerful way to help employees, team leaders, and even CEOs better navigate their daily challenges. It can make room for growth that benefits both the individual receiving the coaching, as well as the overall company.

However, it’s fair to say that not all coaches are created equal. Even with a thorough vetting process and analyzing their qualifications (that sound amazing on paper), it’s important to make sure the coach you work with is a match.

And if they are guilty of any of these bad coaching habits, you may want to rethink this relationship and keep looking:

  1. Trying to Fix Things

    The coach is not someone who will step into a business and start fixing everything that’s not working. Their role is not disruptive in any way – rather, they work with the client to help them change the way they operate.

    Coaches are often tempted to give people the answer or solution to a problem. But the good ones refrain from doing so and instead help the client reach that conclusion by themselves.

  1. Interrupting the Process

    Coaching is a lengthy process and may come with lots of silent moments. Some may try to “fill” these moments and shift the process needlessly to avoid these dull moments.

    But any good coach knows that silence doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is happening. If a coach doesn’t allow their client these moments of reflection, they can accidentally prevent them from saying something crucial or having an “aha” moment.

  1. Always Going Back to the “Book”

    Coaches can each have their own style or frameworks. But as a general rule, these guides need to be adapted to the specific needs and expectations of the person they are coaching, as well as the company.

    If a coach doesn’t seem to be flexible with their framework, and worse even disrupts the process by always going back to their set of rules, it could be an indication that the coach is not a great match.

  1. Doing the Client’s Work for Them

    Coaches can get very close to their clients – they get to know their wishes, expectations, and fears. Some may be tempted to help their clients here and there and do the work for them. It can be something as simple as writing an email on their behalf to even telling them exactly what to say during an important call.

    In either case, this is a huge red flag. Coaches should guide the process, not take charge of it.

  1. Overwhelming the Client

    Another red flag is a coach who gives the client too much homework, especially beyond the office hours. Business professionals have a lot on their plates on a daily basis, and coaches should not try to take hold of what little free time they have.

    Not only can that lead to burnout, but it can overwhelm the client to the point where they cannot even benefit from coaching at all. And this can render the entire process useless.

Coaching Someone Who Doesn’t Want Help

When we discuss how to coach someone, it’s always presumed that the person is open to being helped.

But as managers and HR specialists know, that’s not always the case. You may have a hard-working employee who could grow much faster with a bit of support but is resistant to help from their peers or even supervisors.

This can create a rather strange dynamic in the workplace. But can you overcome it and get this coaching-resistant employee to accept your help?

Why Do Some People Resist Coaching?

People can be wary of coaching for several reasons, but 3 common ones can be:

  • They Think Coaching Means They Are Not Capable

Some individuals may believe that when a manager reaches out and offers help it is because they are not capable of achieving a task or goal on their own. Of course, being coached doesn’t mean the person is not competent or qualified.

In fact, in most cases, it’s quite the opposite. A company may choose to invest in coaching the employee who shows the most potential. But if the employee struggles with their confidence, they may see it very differently than HR or managers do.

  • Change Is Difficult for Them

Coaching involves a lot of changes. From a person’s beliefs to their preferred approaches for navigating challenges or even specific actions, the coaching-resistant employee may simply not be comfortable with this level of change.

Whether it’s because they believe their way is the right way, or usually have a difficult time navigating new waters, fear of change is a huge deterrent to people’s willingness to accept help.

  • They Don’t Want to Be Held Accountable

Of course, coaching can be done for the employee who needs more support and to improve their performance. That’s a difficult position for some people to be put in, as it means they need to be held accountable for their actions.

And for some, shedding light on their misses, failures, or promises they did not follow through on is something to be avoided at all costs.

Can You Coach Someone Who’s Resistant?

Some ways to navigate this situation can include:

  • Hear them out – Simply ask your employee why they do not want to be coached. This can help you understand their position and even clear the air, which could get them to change their stance;
  • Explain your reasons – Tell your employee why you think they can benefit from coaching from the perspective of the company, but also their personal growth;
  • Bring someone from the outside – The employee may feel uncomfortable discussing their weakness or fears with a supervisor or someone from inside the company. In these cases, they are usually much more likely to open up to someone from the outside.

It’s important to understand that coaching is a two-way street.

You cannot force a person to accept your help, but you can try to level with them and understand where the resistance is coming from. This way, you may identify a better way to support them.

Accountability In Coaching: Why Credentials Matter

The world of coaching is fast-growing. It’s easier now than ever before to become a coach and start assisting people with a variety of goals, be they on a professional or personal level. However, in the past, many of these coaches have begun their journey after reading a few books on a dedicated topic, without holding much experience or expertise in the field.

This will soon stop as moving forward, people’s needs are changing greatly. More and more people have easy access to coaching services, which means we will see “new” problems that coaches will have to navigate.

And these new problems that people face will require a certain level of expertise from industry players. That, coupled with the natural rise in the entry barrier as more and more people enter the industry, are the reasons why it’s becoming more and more important to showcase your credentials in the coaching industry.

Why Are People’s Needs Changing?

It’s not necessarily that individuals encounter new problems in their personal or professional goals, though an argument can certainly be made for this as well, considering the aftermath of the global health pandemic.

More so, coaching services are today more accessible than ever. From companies that are offering employees at all levels programs to help them grow to virtual sessions you can access anytime and from anywhere, coaching is easier to tap into.

And this means that groups that have historically not been a part of the industry can also turn to coaches for help. One example would be the rise of BIPOC people seeking support and guidance in their professional journey.

It’s impossible to take out who they are, and the social-economic struggles of the community from their journey. This is why we can see a rise in BIPOC-focused coaches that specifically helps members of this community thrive.

And This Is Why Credentials Matter

As people are stepping into coaching more aware of the challenges they face in their career and personal journey, word of mouth and client testimonials aren’t enough to persuade them.

Coaching today and moving forward must instead place a bigger focus on legitimate credentials and proven models that can show the client the path they are about to follow can yield success. The promise of a big outcome won’t mean much if the coach cannot describe how they plan to get you there.

What Does This All Mean for the Client?

The industry will likely see a surge in new job openings and individuals entering the market. Clients will have more options than ever, but choosing between these options needs time.

Your coach is the person most qualified and capable to help you with your specific issue. Certification, experience, and proven models are just some of the elements you need to assess before beginning a relationship with a new coach.

So never base your decision on who makes the biggest promise. Review how the coach is planning to get you to reach your goals, to make an informed decision.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership

Around 65% of millennials believe they’re not equipped to be leaders yet as they lack the necessary employer support for management positions.

Leadership training and coaching are very much still necessary in 2022 and beyond, as people understand the responsibilities that such positions often require. And to be a good leader, it’s worth taking a look at the 7 deadly sins that leadership often faces:

  1. Not Knowing Who You Are

    It’s not uncommon for the image we have of ourselves to be vastly different from how others perceive us. Leaders who are not confident in their strengths and know their weaknesses can easily become their worst enemies.

  1. Avoiding Difficult Conversations

    It’s human nature to want to avoid difficult conversations. And yet, this is a luxury that leaders can’t always afford. To be a good leader, you have to be comfortable with opposing views and standing your ground.

    Difficult conversations are often necessary to facilitate change and improve operations.

  1. Focusing on “Being Liked”

    Speaking of human nature, we all want to be well-liked in any group: family, friends, and at work. However, while being well-liked is certainly important for a leader, this idea cannot become a guiding force in your decision-making.

  1. Avoiding Decisions

    There’s no other way to do it: leaders need to make decisions all the time. And some of them are hard.

    One pitfall here is trying to postpone or even avoid the process because of the fear of failure. This can hinder organizational growth and even impact your growth as a leader and professional.

  1. Not Facilitating Change

    A leader’s job is to help the organization and its employees grow. They are a conductor of change, which also means they need to be flexible enough to adapt to such changes.

    When the leader hinders change because they prefer the status quo, this is a huge issue for the entire organization.

  1. Ineffective Communication

    Communication skills can often make or break a leader. They must be well-versed in all mechanisms of language, be they verbal, non-verbal, or written. Often, they need to facilitate or encourage communication within the conversation, which is rather impossible without solid communication skills.

  1. Not Focusing on Your Potential

    People often view a leadership position as the prize in the career race. However, getting to the finish line doesn’t mean your journey of growth stops here.

    Good leaders know they must always grow their potential, and skills, and look outside themselves for assistance in leading a team or an organization.

How Can You Become a Good Leader?

We’ve seen that a lot of the time, people require specialized support to help them navigate the new challenges of leadership. One-on-one leadership coaching can help individuals get this support and navigate these 7 deadly sins of leadership.

As to whether the sins can be avoided entirely – that depends. To err is human, after all, but how a leader bounces back from these errors is much more indicative of their leadership abilities than whether they can avoid them altogether.

Wellness Programs: Are They Now Mandatory for an Organization?

Society is forever changed after 2 years of being held in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. While people, companies, and industries are still figuring things out, we can already see some massive changes when it comes to the workplace.

Specifically, changes to how companies are starting to measure, retain, and even entice their employees.

Say what you want about the pandemic, but it has underlined the need for comprehensive wellness programs that can take care of a person from a holistic standpoint. Companies are also realizing they are not just the main factor that could influence a person’s financial life. They also play a huge role in their employee’s wellness.

The Stats on Corporate Wellness Programs

A Gartner Survey of 52 HR executives found that companies are doubling down on their wellness programs:

  • 94% invested extra in their wellness programs
  • 85% increased support for mental health
  • 50% increased support for physical health
  • 38% increased support for financial health

Wellness isn’t just the responsibility of the employee anymore. Companies are realizing that through comprehensive wellness programs, they can better predict and improve employee performance, and even increase employee retention.

Because it’s not just companies warming up to these programs: individuals are seeking services to improve their well-being in different ways.

What Should a Wellness Program Include?

If your organization is now looking to establish its first wellness program, the very first step to take is assessing the current well-being of your employees.

Wellness programs work best when they can directly speak to the needs, expectations, and individual circumstances of employees. For example, a company with many young adults may need family planning services. Notoriously competitive industries and high stress should strengthen their mental health services.

By asking your employees, you can effectively learn what they need from a wellness program. In general, such programs will take a holistic approach to help employees lead a balanced life, such as:

  • Physical health services – Such as adding health and fitness services to the program, providing tools and resources of education, or binding on a health coach to help employees improve their physical health;
  • Mental health services – Implementing stress-reduction protocols, educating employees about their mental health, improving their access to mental health services, etc.
  • Financial health – Helping employees plan their financial future, save money, invest, and even create safety nets in case of emergencies.

Of course, the wellness program can have many additional layers, depending on the needs and expectations of your employees.

Do Wellness Programs Work?

Helping someone improve their well-being isn’t a one-sided task: it takes 2 to tango.

But what wellness programs do is offer employees an easy, accessible way to take care of their health and well-being.

Whether at an individual level it will work or not, generally depends on the person. Some thrive better with 1-on-1 wellness coaching than with broad coaching programs.

But even so, wellness programs work towards improving the company-employee relationship and offer people all the resources they need to care for themselves and their well-being.

The “Human” Side Of Coaching

Coaches can have vastly different approaches to helping their clients achieve their goals, be they on a professional, personal, or niche level.

However, what should never change in terms of how coaching ensues is the idea that the client’s needs always come first, before the books, the strategies, and the formats.

Call it the recipe for success in coaching, but when you don’t put the person’s needs at the forefront of your work, you miss out on the “human” component of coaching. And this component can often determine the success of the coaching.

What Is the “Human” Component of Coaching?

The human component simply refers to the fact that the coaching strategy should answer the specific needs of the client in need of help.

Let’s take two scenarios to help you see the human component in action:

1.  The General Approach

A person looking for coaching and support certainly has many options in 2022. In fact, you may even be inclined to sign up for a masterclass or course that can help you work on some of your issues to reach your goals.

These types of classes have a “general” approach. They tackle certain subjects in a way that a large group of people can have something to learn and gain from them.

The coach will likely prepare a set of videos, booklets, checklists, and other materials to offer their clients, and help them move through the course.

And you can learn a lot from this type of approach, especially if you’ve never worked with a professional to improve your skills and mindset to overcome challenges and reach your goals. But, with this approach, you are missing out on essential interactions with your coach.

2.  The “Human” Approach

The human approach to coaching essentially means your coach will build an actual relationship with you, instead of just sharing tips and tricks. For starters, the human approach involves identifying your unique needs and expectations.

You will meet with your coach and get support for your circumstances, instead of an overall approach to becoming more successful or socially open. The human approach puts you, as an individual, at the frontline of the entire process, and not a potential group of people.

Which One Is Better?

It should be said that both approaches have their time and place. The general approach, be it in the form of a class or a course can certainly help people achieve meaningful results and even clarify some questions they may have about their future.

But in most cases, people respond better to the “human” approach, simply because it is tailored to their individual circumstances.

So when you choose a course, a program, or a coach, always let your individual needs guide you. Ask yourself:

“Can this really help me? Is it appropriate for my goals?”

Once you do that, you’ll be able to effectively navigate the world of coaching and find the tips, tricks, and the people who can genuinely help you achieve what you want.

Virtual Coaching: The Good, The Bad, And the Disclaimer

By: David Herdlinger

We’re living in an increasingly virtual world. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries were forced to embrace the remote or hybrid workplace a lot sooner than expected, or even regardless if they’d ever made such plans.

But like it or not, we now have countless digital opportunities at our fingertips, including professional coaching.

But does it work? Does video-calling your coach yield the same benefits as face-to-face meetings?

Let’s unpack the issue.

The Good of Virtual Coaching

Professional or personal coaching can be incredibly powerful for a lot of people in need of a little help reaching their goals.

But depending on where you live, you might not have access to the best coaches, or even not have one in your area at all.

Virtual coaching, therefore, allows many more people to access these types of services, from anywhere, and even at any time.

This leads to some compelling advantages:

  • Easily fit the coaching sessions into your busy schedule
  • Find more opportunities to get coaching even for niche matters
  • Get the chance to find a coach who can truly help your specific situation, etc.

The Bad of Virtual Coaching

There are two things I want to mention here:

First, you need to be careful who you trust. Since virtual coaching is on the rise, naturally many people may try to take advantage of them. It’s important to fully vet the coach and be sure you’re going to work with someone who’s experienced and can genuinely guide you to the success you look for.

That’s the biggest downside of virtual coaching.

But, there’s also a matter of what style you may respond best to. Simply put, some people still need face-to-face experience. The message resonates much clearer with them when they receive it live, as opposed to a video call.

The Disclaimer

I don’t think it’s necessarily productive to claim one style of coaching is better than the other. Both virtual and in-person coaching can provide you with a great experience.

Instead, be very careful how you select your coach, no matter if the meetings will occur in real life or through a digital platform.

There are some things you should always be looking for in a coach:

  • Compatibility – Like any relationship, you have to be compatible with your coach at least on some level;
  • Experience – If you’re going to learn from that person and take their advice, then they need to have the right experience to genuinely help you reach your goals;
  • Expertise – The coach is an expert in their niche, but is their niche right for what you need? Always be sure to check;
  • Trust – This is the foundation of any collaboration or relationship. If the coach isn’t the type of person you can trust to open up to, then your coaching experience will suffer because of it;

If you find someone compatible with you, has the right expertise and experience, and you feel you can trust them, then you don’t need to concern yourself with the virtual vs. real-life coaching debate.