Business can feel like a lonely place. Even if you’re constantly surrounded by other people, if you’re carrying responsibilities and making crucial decisions alone, it can feel like a heavy burden to carry. Support for professionals in this context comes in two main forms – a business mentor or a business coach. But what’s the difference between the two and which is likely to be the best option for you?

The business mentor

Mentors are usually individual-focused. So, you might work with a mentor over the long term in order to shape the path of your career within the business. Mentoring is often free and frequently works on the basis of passing on insight and expertise from one professional to another. Mentoring is focused on goals and growth for an individual, as opposed to the business as a whole, and a mentor will provide advice on how to overcome challenges, define objectives and grow as a business person.

The business coach

Working with a business coach means that the emphasis is firmly on the business itself, as opposed to the individual. It’s also common practice to work with a coach on a specific challenge, task or issue that the business faces. That could be going through an employment drive, launching new lines or integrating new technology. A business coach will work with you to set goals and objectives and identify challenges and then provide support and guidance over an agreed period of time until targets have been reached. The business coach relationship is usually based on payment of a fee and tends to be short-term, as opposed to ongoing.

The benefits of working with a business coach

If you opt to work with a business coach there are a number of key benefits.

  • An expert perspective. If you know where you want the business to go, working with a business coach can enable you to get there more quickly. A coach’s expertise can be invaluable when it comes to identifying areas to nurture and where to focus resources to achieve the growth that you’re looking for.
  • Integrating technology. Many small businesses don’t have the time or internal expertise to identify and adopt the technology likely to be the most useful to their enterprise. A business coach with a high level understanding of the most recent tech developments in your industry can provide support with everything, from identifying options to managing deployment.
  • Essential insight. When it comes to devising strategy, planning for the future of your enterprise and identifying the best options for marketing, a business coach has the experience to help you choose the right path. A coach will be able to identify potential pitfalls and advantages and steer you towards positive decision making.
  • Improving management. Leadership and management often don’t come naturally to business builders but working with a coach can help you to refine these skills.

There are some key differences between a business mentor and a business coach and the option you choose could have a big impact on what happens next.

If you are thinking of or wanting to know more about a business mentor or business can help you and your business, get in touch