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Do I need a Coach, Business Mentor, or Business Consultant?

A question I often get but what is the difference between a coach, a business consultant, and a business mentor? Followed by, how could they help me with my business or personal development? In this article, we will address the differences and discuss how they can help entrepreneurs cultivate successful businesses. As a professional with over twenty-five years of executive experience that spans publicly traded, privately held, governmental and nonprofit organizations, I've learned a thing or two about these titles. Heck, I've even used them! Let's take a look at the differences.


The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. (

Coaching is a short-term relationship wherein the coach uses thought-provoking questions, techniques, and processes to help you unlock your own knowledge and find new ways to apply that knowledge to meet your goals. And there are many types of coaches,

How can a coach help you? A good coach can help you find clarity, learn new ways to respond, leverage existing strengths, identify patterns, act as a source for accountability, and achieve work-life balance. Coaches can also support your personal development, help you to improve performance, and maintain accountability.

Ten years ago, most companies engaged a coach to help fix toxic behavior at the top. Today, most coaching is about developing the capabilities of high-potential performers. As a result of this broader mission, there’s a lot more fuzziness around such issues as how coaches define the scope of engagements, how they measure and report on progress, and the credentials a company should use to select a coach. (

Business Mentoring

The terms mentoring and coaching often get used interchangeably, which can be misleading. Both offer valuable developmental support, mentoring offers high-level guidance and skills transfer for long-term development. Coaching is typically a short-term or finite duration with a focus on strengthening or eliminating specific behaviors to support a more improvement in a targeted area.

A mentor, in simple words, is someone who offers their knowledge, expertise, and advice to those with less experience. By leveraging their experience and skills, mentors guide mentees in the right direction. ( They have already had success as an entrepreneur, possess expertise you lack, and deliver direct, yet practical and supportive advice.

An effective mentor serves as a professional guide imparting knowledge, wisdom, and expertise. Sharing business experience and skills as part of the mentoring relationship. In fact, according to SCORE (the Service Corp of Retired Executives), 30% of entrepreneurs who had just one interaction with a business mentor reported growth in their business, and 43% of entrepreneurs who had five or more interactions with a mentor reported growth. ( According to SBA, 70 percent of mentored businesses survive longer than 5 years (

A business mentor takes a long-range view of your growth and development, helping you see the destination while offering encouragement, wisdom, and knowledge transfer from applied professional experience.

Business Consulting

A business consultant is a professional who analyzes businesses, creates solutions to problems, and helps businesses develop efficient plans for meeting their goals. Consultants generally bring their own methodologies or frameworks to guide a business and recommend how to achieve goals more effectively and efficiently. (

As subject matter experts, there are different types of consultants, and it is important that you work with a consultant with experience and previous success with organizations like yours. These advisors help companies increase revenue, overcome challenges, and scale.

Offering a wide range of services, business consultants often:

  • Provide specific market expertise

  • Provide specific skills

  • Supplement existing staff

  • Identify organizational problems

  • Serve as change agents

  • Teach and train employees

In addition to identifying problems and opportunities, business consultants serve as advisers developing solutions to problems and plans to capitalize on opportunities. They have hands-on experience, often paired with education in business, science, or technology. Business consulting is more than giving advice.

Increasingly, the best management consultants define their objective as not just recommending solutions but also helping institutionalize more effective management processes. (

Which should I choose?

Great question! I would ask, which do you need?

A coach will help guide you through a transformative approach to your life and career with a focus on mindset shifts.

A mentor will serve as a professional guide imparting knowledge, wisdom, and expertise toward your identified long-range goals.

A consultant provides advice, recommendations, solutions, and frameworks based on proven experience, within a specific scope and defined deliverables.

Choosing the right expert will help you take your business, or your career, to the next level. Which is right for you, truly depends on your current needs as you plan your strategies and long-term success.


Tammey provides consulting to private, public, and nonprofit organizations, assisting with strategic planning, business planning, sales plans and training, board training, fund development, marketing, outreach, strategic communications, and more. Serving as a business mentor, she works with entrepreneurs through ideation to implementation of their long-term business goals.

Her passion project is her globally recognized podcast, Your Killer Life, where she talks all things breast cancer with fellow survivors (aka thrivers), caregivers, medical professionals, and others to bring hope and awareness to the realities of breast cancer.

Want to talk with Tammey about how she can help you in your business? Schedule today.

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