What’s the difference between a life coach and a business coach?

What’s the difference between a life coach and a business coach? When should a sole trader pick one over the other?

Top voted answer
Don Gregg

Don Gregg, Director at Advice 4 Growth

A business coach helps you with your business - managing better, selecting products and services to offer, which clients to target, operational systems, staff issues, etc. Use them to help you figure out how to make your business better. A life coach focuses on you and your personal goals such as more time with the kids and impacts of your personality on your work and family life. They help you change your ways to give you more of what you personally want in life. So if the issue is the business get a business coach. If it is about your lifestyle and personal goals see a life coach. Either could possibly help you but their focus and approach will be different.



I thought you could also plan your professional development and career goals with a life coach... help you compose a strategy for the year to achieve your professional goals, and then during the year facilitate the fleshing out of tactics, track progress on a quarter-by-quarter basis (depends on the objective) and giving feedback... Well, that's what I would expect from a Life Coach if I could afford one!

Damir Butkovic

Damir Butkovic, Director at Damir Butkovic

As Don said, business coach is there to give you a hand with your business primarily, life coach with your life in general. In many ways that get very much mixed up especially with small business owners. Also many business coach will be trained as life coaches so they can do both jobs while may life coaches are just life coaches. Business coaching is usually more expensive than life coaching so again decosion will have to be made by sole trader.

David Solomon

David Solomon, Business Performance Strategist at

While coaches may come from various backgrounds, there are basically 3 types:

1) A business coach

2) A corporate / executive coach

3) A life coach.

So what is the difference?

A business coach collaborates with the managers and / or owners of smaller companies to ensure people work on their business, rather than just in it.

In contract, executive and life coaches work to develop individuals rather than businesses. Coaches may work one-on-one or with groups.

A life coach works in a more holistic fashion to help develop people’s personal and interpersonal skills and set in place strategies to achieve both career and life goals.

In many ways the work of both executive coaches and life coaches can overlap. The difference between life and corporate coaching is blurred given you deal with work / life balance when you are coaching.

In my experience - or maybe it’s just the way I approach my coaching (which is quite holistic) – a coach can play multiple roles. For example, at various times I have been a sounding board, motivator, mentor, business consultant, teacher, task master, spiritual guide and friend to each of my clients.

But here is the really big problem - the coaching industry is virtually unregulated.

There are still no special qualifications that are widely recognised. There are no minimum criteria and there is not even a common terminology. People call themselves advisers, coaches and facilitators. It’s very easy to get into, there are no barriers to entry and anybody can call themselves one. Choosing the right coach is a whole other subject.