Following on from my previous post on what a Board of Advice or Business Coach can bring to your business, today I would like to talk about which option is best for you and your business.
To work that out, we need to look at what the differences are between a Board of Advice (BOA) and a Coach.
There are many similarities, and differences, between the two options, and it is the differences that will help you in figuring out which one you may want to go with.
One of the major differences is that a BOA is a group of external people who will come in on a regular basis and help you look at your business from a high level point of view. You have the opportunity to tap into the external skills and knowledge they have which you don’t have inhouse. It can include a lawyer, accountant, a client, your PDM, a business coach, an IT expert, and a range of other people whose skills you may need from time to time.
They will look at your business and give you an objective viewpoint, fleshing out ideas and helping decide whether strategies will work or not. However, it is still a high level point of view, and doesn’t get down to the nitty gritty of your business.
A coach, on the other hand, comes in and works with your practice one-on-one. They get a more detailed perspective of what is happening in your business, while still remaining at arm’s length.
Finances – On the financial side of things, both a BOA and a coach will look closely at your financials – they will look at what is actually happening, as opposed to what some business owners do, which is going on their ‘feel’ of how the practice is going.
Meetings – As far as how often you get together, a BOA meets as often as needed, and for most practices that would be quarterly. A coach, on the other hand, will most likely meet with you monthly, and also have interaction with you between meetings on various matters.
Business Plan – A coach is especially helpful at putting together your Business Plan. They understand more of the intricacies of your business, and can drill down into the general forward planning for you. That is because they have more in-depth ‘how-to’ discussions with you and your team. They have a more intimate understanding of your business than a BOA is able to have because they are more hands-on.
Behaviours – A coach can also help you with making changes to behaviours within the practice. BOAs tend to only meet with the principals of the practice, so are not as knowledgeable about the personalities and interactions within the business on a day-to-day basis.
Diversity – One key benefit of a BOA is that it provides you with a diversity of opinion, and a sounding board of a group of people to float ideas off, and get a broad range of expertise and opinions to help with your overall decision making.
Transitioning – Boards of Advice can be especially helpful when transitioning your business. Say you have a small business which has been growing, and you want to take it to the next level of growth. A BOA can be very helpful in setting up the strategies and providing advice on the best way to go about it. Bringing together the collective knowledge of a number of areas can really help you focus your business on what you need to do to evolve further. A good coach can also identify what areas of expertise are required in your situation and organise access to the appropriate specialists if need be.
So, in the end it is all about perspective. A BOA gives you the high level, strategic advice your business may need. While a coach can also assist with that, they can also get more involved in the nuts and bolts of your business. It is up to you to take a good, honest look at how your business operates and decide whether one, both or neither, can help your take your business to where you want it to be.
Sue Viskovic CFP is the Founder of Elixir Consulting; a sought-after speaker; a business coach; and author of a number of books and programs designed for advisers.
With over 15 years’ experience in financial services, with roles spanning banking, funds management, advice and licensee services, Sue has built her career and her business on helping financial advisers, accountants and risk specialists to improve the way that they run their businesses and deliver advice.