Apparently I struck a nerve a few weeks ago with my blog post about having a marketing plan. My comments about “motivational gurus” seemed to ruffle the feathers of some business coaches who thought I was disparaging their profession.

Let me set the record straight: business coaches are awesome!

I completely agree with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, when he says everyone needs a coach:

So why the negative comments?

My beef isn’t with coaches. It’s with purveyors of get-rich-quick schemes, sellers of self-help books, and anyone else who does a whole lot of motivating without any real teaching. You might be wondering how these “motivators” differ from coaches? Allow me to clarify:

A coach is hired to help you be better at what you do.
A motivator is trying to sell you something.

A coach works with you to identify and solve problems.
A motivator glosses over problems shouting “You can do it!”

A coach gets to know your particular situation and offers sound advice.
A motivator talks in generalities and offers empty platitudes.

If you want your business to grow I suggest you spend less time reading or listening to “motivators” and hire yourself a qualified coach…or maybe a consultant.

What’s the difference between a coach and a consultant?

The terms coach and consultant are often used interchangeably, and there is some overlap between the two. Let’s explore:

According to Merriam Webster a coach is “a private tutor;” whereas, a consultant is “one who gives professional advice or services.”

Another good definition comes from one marketing coach I spoke with who explained “a coach will help you explore your own ideas; a consultant will give you theirs.”

And motivators? Well, they’re okay if you’re looking for a simple pick-me-up, but their advice is far too general to go much further than that.

Why I started consulting

My foray into Internet marketing consulting began after I discovered a dangerous information gap. Prospects were asking me for SEO copywriting without being fully informed as to why they needed it or how to use it. Some seemed to have the idea that they could slap together a website, sell some affiliate products on it, and get rich.

But Internet marketing doesn’t work that way.

Legit Internet marketing (like most anything in life) requires time, effort, and effective strategy. That’s why I teach my clients not just the “what” of Internet marketing practices, but the “how” and the “why,” too.

How can I tell if I need a coach (or consultant)?

There are two main advantages to working with an outside coach or consultant (in any variety of specialties):

  • They bring with them particular expertise that you can leverage to your advantage, and
  • They posses an outside (neutral) perspective which allows them to see and address issues you would overlook on your own.

Here are three signs it’s time for you to hire your own business coach or consultant:

  1. You’re just starting out in your business and you know you have a lot to learn.
  2. You’re feeling frustrated because you’ve reached a plateau in your business that you just can’t climb above.
  3. You’ve tried implementing someone else’s “fool proof” business system and you don’t understand why it’s not working.

If any of these describe you, or you have another reason why you think you need a business coach, contact me. If I can’t help you directly, I’ll introduce you to a colleague who can.