If you’ve ever considered coaching, for your business or otherwise, a quick Google search will tell you that there are so many different types available out there. From coaching to help you through specific situations, such as a new job role or life event, to more general mentoring to support you and your business, you really are spoilt for choice! But, two of the most popular types are business and life coaching. It’s common for executives and business owners to take on one of these types of services depending on their needs. But is business and life coaching for executives the same thing? The short answer is no. While they do have a fair few similarities, they do generally serve different purposes. You may find one of them beneficial, or a mixture of both.

In this blog post, we aim to dissect both business and life coaching that’s aimed at executives and business owners. What are the differences and similarities? If you’re thinking about taking on the services of a coach of some kind, or simply want to get to grips with what’s different about these types of coaching, this post should be helpful for you.

What is business coaching?

Firstly, let’s take a look at business coaching. While there are different types out there, here are some of the core features you can expect to find:

A business focus

The clue is in the name! Business coaching focuses on your business and the goals that you want to achieve within it. No matter what these goals may be, there is a coach out there that will help you to achieve them. Some more common goals include making more money, increasing sales, growing the team, expanding into new markets, or preparing to take a step back from the business (such as working fewer hours or retiring). While this form of coaching will also help you develop personally as a business owner, this is usually not the top priority. Any skills you learn in the way of personal development either tend to be a bonus, or will specifically help you run your business more effectively.

Your coach will often have specific experience

Difference business coaches tend to focus on specific sectors or types of businesses, for example, SMEs, creative businesses, or start-ups. Usually, this is because they have a wealth of past experience working in these types of organisations themselves. In general, your business coach should be more experienced in this particular area or skill set than you are as an executive or business owner. As a result, they will be able to share the wisdom and knowledge they have gained throughout their years in the industry with you, allowing you to learn from them and become a better businessperson as a result.

Business coaching goalsThey’ll set business goals

The vast majority of business coaches will work with you to really get to grips with the operation that you’re running. From there, they will support you to set goals pertaining to the business. The aim of these goals is to be realistic, but also aspirational so that hitting them will mean that your wider business goals, such as growth, are achieved. These goals rarely touch on the personal side of things; they are business-only. From there, they will help to equip you with the skills and strategies you need to meet them. The ultimate aim of a business coach is for you and your business to no longer require their services, as the business is thriving and doesn’t depend upon their support.

What is life coaching for executives?

In terms of life coaching, there are actually many different forms with a  few subtle differences! As a business owner or executive, however, you may be more interested in life coaching that will also have positive repercussions for your business life. But, it’s important to note that this is not a requirement for life coaching, and if you would rather it not touch upon your work at all, this is possible. So, here are some of the main features of life coaching that you may be interested in:

A focus on who you are rather than what you do

Whereas business coaching has an almost singular focus on your business and what you do within it, life coaching for executives instead focuses more solely on you as a person. Who are you? What are your positive traits? What do you want to improve upon in terms of personal development, and how will this affect your life? If you have certain personal goals that you want to reach, but you’re not sure how to reach them, life coaching could work for you. However, this is not to say that taking on the services of a life coach will have no impact on your business. Naturally, as you improve as a person, the way you run things as a business owner or executive should also improve.

Your coach’s experience could be more varied

When searching for business coaching, it’s quite important to find a coach with experience that is specific to your needs and business. However, when it comes to life coaching for executives, this is not always the case. As life coaching focuses less on your business and more on you as a person, it is not as important for your coach to know your industry inside out. Instead, a life coach may have formal qualifications in areas such as psychology. Or, they may have training from elsewhere. Of course, specific traits come in useful for both business and life coaches. But, to be a life coach, there’s a heavier focus on having empathetic and interpersonal qualities that can help others become better people all-round, instead of purely better business owners.

Life coaching doesn’t have to have a business focus at all!

Life coaching vs business coaching

Life coaching can focus on whatever you wish!

Just because you’re looking into life coaching for executives doesn’t mean that this coaching has to be about work. perhaps you want to improve yourself in a purely personal capacity. While it’s true that doing this probably will have a knock-on effect, raising your performance at work, you don’t need to relate life coaching to your business or job. You can purely focus on your personal life and overcoming challenges there, whatever these may look like to you. In fact, many business owners and executives find that they prefer a separation between business and life coaching, if they feel as though they would benefit from both, as they can serve very different purposes.

So, are business and life coaching for executives the same thing?

Technically, no, they are different entities. Of course, they do have some similarities, and taking on either business or life coaching will probably also positively affect other areas of your life. But, business coaching focuses only on your business and your role within it, while life coaching has more of a focus on who you are and how this may impact the way you work. And, with business coaching, your coach often has the specific sort of experience you’re looking for, such as working in the same sector or type of business as you.

On the other hand, the coach’s background matters less when it comes to life coaching for executives. This is because it’s less about building purely business skills, and more about how personal development can help you in your personal and business lives. And, the goals that they set are usually fairly different. In life coaching, you will probably be set goals to improve yourself personally. And, if achieving these goals has a knock-on effect of improving you business, then it’s a win-win situation. But, improving your business is not usually the end goal. However, with business coaching, the goals are nearly always business-focused. Yes, you may have to look at some personal development goals if this will help you to achieve what you want in your business, but this is not the main priority.

Both business and life coaching for executives can be very useful, depending on your situation and what you want to gain out of the coaching scenario. If you’re looking to improve yourself from a personal development perspective alone (with the knock-on effect of improving the way you run your business in many cases), then life coaching could be a good option for you. But, if you want to focus primarily on your business and how this as an operation can be improved, business coaching may be more suitable. At the end of the day, only you know what will work well for your business (and yourself!), whether this is business coaching, life coaching, or a combination of the two. There is no one right way to do things. Every business is different, after all!

Here at Chrysalis Partners, I provide business coaching that is designed to help you and your business thrive. I can help you to grow, increase your revenue, and make more money as a business owner. Contact me today at graham@grahamgarman.com or complete the contact form here and I’ll get back to your shortly to discuss your individual requirements.