The Difference Between Business and Executive Coaching

Is there a difference between business and executive coaching/ Or, are they just different names for the same thing? Perhaps they are different but have many points of overlap and similarity.

Business and Executive Coaching
Business and Executive Coaching – rawpixel ©

What is an Executive Coach?

One of the differences between business and executive coaching is who hires them? An executive coach is usually hired by corporation to work with their Vice Presidents, Managing Directors, senior leaders, or other key leaders within an organization.

Executive coaching most often focuses on personal development and not so much on business results. One of the keys to this personal development is stressing improved communication skills, enhanced motivational techniques, and the facilitation of better teamwork skills.

The focus is on personal effectiveness, executive skills, and improved interpersonal relationships. It is hoped that these changes will ultimately lead to better business performance and eventually, an improvement in the corporation’s bottom line.

An executive coach:

  • Helps develop leadership skills
  • Helps enhance management ability
  • Focuses on improving communication skills
  • Helps build successful teams
  • Works on motivation and inspiration techniques
  • Facilitating transitions to new projects and new teams

What is a Business Coach?

Though there are similarities and overlap between business and executive coaching, there are differences. A business coach also focuses on improved personal skills of the business owner, but the main consideration is improved business performance. A business coach also works with goals and vision, and helping the business owner fit both of those into the context of the business and their persona life.

A business coach can work on any and all of the following:

  • Strategic planning
  • Marketing and promotions
  • Financial planning
  • Work/life balance
  • Enhancing business skills and knowledge
  • Starting and growing a small business
  • Encouragement and motivation
  • Building contacts and improving networking ability

These items are all focused on business performance and include feedback and assessment. It is a more direct approach to bottom line improvement than executive coaching.

Business and Executive Coaching are Similar But Not the Same

Though the focus is often different when comparing the two, business and executive coaches do ultimately work to improve business performance. Executive coaches just take a different path to get there and have a different stated objective. Executive coaches also work with more highly advanced business leaders and go beyond the basics of business and management.

Both coaches help their clients navigate highly competitive business environments. Corporations usually compete on an international scope, while small business owners usually compete on a more local level. However, both environments are challenging and full of obstacles.

Another similarity is that both business and executive coaching works with their clients to improve time management skills. Whether the client is a high-level executive in a multinational corporation or a owner of a one-man shop, time management skills are crucial to succeeding in business and keeping a viable work/life balance.

There are certainly plenty of similarities, but there are also some crucial differences between business coaching and executive coaching. If you are considering one of these fields, it is important to understand the differences.

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article… Thank you!

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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  1. Nicole says

    Thank you for the clarification. Knowing how the two are the same and different is important especially if you plan on becoming either one. To be an effective coach you should have a niche which you can develop and focus on.

  2. Marian says

    I always get the two mixed up but after reading this article, it showed me that it has its similarities but it also has its differences. Thank you for clearing it up! This will surely help me if I ever find myself in a situation wherein an opportunity to become either a business or executive coaching presents itself.

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