For a business person, one of the hallmark features of engaging a coach is that the client learns skills that have universal applicability. What you work on for the benefit of your business, you'll find valuable for your personal and social lives as well. There's a simple reason for this: unlike engaging a consultant who focuses on the 'what', a coach will hone in on the 'who'.
When you hire a consultant, you hire an expert in some specific area of enterprise; we'll call this the 'what' of life. The consultant will review your situation, the environment in which you operate, and provide either a solution to your current challenge or a means to optimize a presented opportunity.
When you hire a coach, you've hired an expert in human development, communications and interaction - the very foundation of your business. No matter how good your business plan, your contacts or your products, a business is completely dependent on the skills, interaction and motivation of its employees (and it could be that's just you - your business' sole employee). We'll call this the 'who' of life.
Just as a consultant does, a coach will review the situation you've determined needs some assistance. It could be you're not finding the personal motivation to run it all any longer, things just don't seem to be working as they once did, you've run out of ideas and out of time. It may be an employee you're grooming for leadership, a manager who may want to incorporate coaching skills to motivate staff, a department that's not operating as a cohesive unit. Or, if you're new at this, could be you need a coach to help with the overwhelm of your many 'hats', your loss of identity or resources or social structure that you took for granted in your former, employed situation.
With a coach, your 'situation' will be reviewed within the context of the larger picture of your values, priorities, goals and strength. And, as you can guess, this encompasses the broad field of who you are. You know how often your life can throw a curve into your business and how often your business does the same to the rest of your life. They are inextricably bound up together.
Let's face it: Every morning you bring your personal life to work and every evening you take your business home with you.
That's why a business coach knows that the '80 -20 rule' applies: whatever the reason for the engagement, it's ultimately 20% about business and 80% personal. As a result of effective coaching, there's an integration of both aspects - personal and business -that strongly encourages 'balanced behaviors'; those that are consistent with a client's values, integrity, priorities, needs - and those elements are operating 24 hours a day, whether at work, at play or at home. When that congruence - balance - occurs, there's a much better opportunity for a business to thrive - because those who are charged with its success - employees - are thriving as well.