As a certified Life Coach for Entrepreneurs, I am often asked, “What is the difference between a life coach and business coach?” There is some confusion within my profession about this so it is no wonder other people aren’t really sure. Here is how I describe the differences.
At a very basic level, a life coach is working with an individual on their whole life. A business coach is working with an individual, group or organization on the business. Some of the coaching skill sets like listening, intuition, accountability, challenging and active listening might be the same. I see a major difference in tools. Business coaches will often be more focused on strategic planning, expenses, work flow, operations management, financials and performance.
A great way to understand this is to ask, “Who will be the client? Is it the individual or the business?” Often, in a business coaching relationship, it is a B2B relationship between the business and the coach – and the coach may be brought in to work with a business leader, manager, team or multiple parties. There will be an agreement around the level of transparency and confidentiality of the work and with who and what will be shared.
Life coaches are present for whatever aspect of life the client wishes to work on. The client is the individual (a B2C relationship). I always tell my clients that there are no taboo or off limit topics for me. It is up to them where they would like to spend their coaching time focused on. As many of my clients are business owners, often current challenges or situations in their work environments come up. Rather than problem solving and planning our way out of it, our coaching work looks at what values are being crossed, what do they want from the situation, where do they see themselves on the other side of this challenge and who they have to be in order to get there.