People often ask me, “What is family business coaching?” Another question I get is, “How is what you do different from family business counseling?”
A family business coach or a business coach will typically be helping people become more effective at producing business results. Most of the conversations will be through the lens of focusing on business expectations and performance. Coaching is usually about helping people produce new and different results in the future.
A family business counselor or a counselor, many times will focus on exploring the past and the events of the past. Also, how the past has had an impact on the family or the family’s interactions with one other.
A counselor usually takes a psychological or therapeutic approach. They are typically licensed and regulated by a state agency and require certain educational requirements.
A business coach is typically helping people focus on their techniques. They are exploring new techniques and new ways to be more effective. A coach is future-oriented, not exploring potential psychological issues that could be impacting behavior and performance.
In either case, both the coach and counselor should create an environment where the family can step back and be more thoughtful. They will help the family explore ways that they’re interacting and what may be interfering with more effective teamwork.
The family business coach has a business background or better yet, family business experience. This is so that he or she can understand the nuances of how family interactions and business interactions commingle. A good business coach will have advanced education and degrees in both business as well as coaching.
It’s a good idea to ask either your coach or counselor about their education and certifications.
A family counselor wouldn’t have the experience and understanding of how business relationships, goal setting and accountability play out in a work environment.
A business coach wouldn’t want to spend much time exploring the past history of the family relationships. The business coach will want to focus on the current interactions and the current results that are being produced in the business.
A good family business coach will certainly have some understanding of issues that might need counseling or therapeutic help. They could very well encourage the family to engage in family counseling at the same time they are having family business coaching.
What’s most important is that the family be courageous and willing to find outside professionals that can help them work through their issues.
Either a coach or a counselor can provide much-needed outside perspective and provide a structure for making progress. Coaching and counseling usually involves a series of conversations over a period of time to get to implement and integrate new ideas that produce new actions and results.
In the coaching industry, we spend a lot of time training coaches to understand the differences between coaching and counseling and to steer clear of ever being engaged in activities that could be seen as counseling.
I know many coaches and counselors and know that they are all very committed to helping people become more effective, have more enjoyment and experience less frustration in their lives.
Smart families educate themselves on the differences between coaching and counseling and are willing to use a combination of services, if needed, in order to produce the best results for both the family and the business team.
If you have any questions about coaching or counseling, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me. If I don’t have the answer, I will be happy to refer you to a counselor colleague to help you get the answers you need.
Coaching and counseling are both very helpful and are distinctly different.
Be courageous and relentless in pursuit of a healthy, happy and engaged family!
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Coach in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.