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What’s the difference between ‘Executive Coaching’ and ‘Business Coaching’?

certified executive coach china. Difference between Business and Executive CoachingI’m writing this article for anyone considering a Business Coach in China or an Executive Coach in China as there appears to be a lack of credible information here behind the Great Wall.
For actual “Coaching” location can be irrelevant. I personally find myself taking phone calls from clients as they take time out. They tend to call me while walking in a park, sitting in nature or in the comfort of their homes. This is for those interested wanting to know about the differences and also what to look for. The signs or clues of competency so you get the results you ultimately pay for in TIME and money.

In respect to all my writings please note: I’m a professional Coach not a professional writer. I promise you will find and be able to understand everything despite errors.


What’s the difference between ‘Executive Coaching’ and ‘Business Coaching’.

Let’s draw some distinctions and look at some of the differences in emphasis, focus, and training between these two types of coaching:

“Business Coaching” is an alternative term or derived from the field of consulting. Some research shows: “Many Business Coaches refer to themselves as consultants, a broader business relationship than one which exclusively involves coaching.”

I regularly work with an amazing woman. She is very business savvy, on the ball, a top notch business owner, business developer, business adviser, business consultant. She also calls herself from time to time a ‘Business Coach’.

Would I want her coaching me on my business?

“Hell yeah!”

Business Coaches can be like sports coaches and I like how clear and simple it can be. Only, the industry is less regulated and perhaps doesn’t need regulation. Business Coaches typically meet clients through referrals and people judge them on their reputation. Hence they get hired based off their results and the confidence the client has that the coach can help them achieve their goal.

Several good friends of mine have hired Business Coaches to help them grow their business. I’ll be happy to recommend and connect you to their coaches because my friends have already earned their money back and are now stepping up their businesses to new levels. I see this over and over again. People are great at what they do but have weaknesses. The Business Coaches have helped them with their weaknesses. Have also held them accountable for specific changes, hitting milestones, and staying on track.

Overall I have heard mixed reviews therefore am happy to recommend one that has proven success with one of my friends or clients.

what does an executive coach do, what does a business coach do.

What Coaches actually do, their experience and ability is not always clear. Especially with Coaches in China/Japan/HK/Taiwan and the not so common eastern cities. In these and many places Coaches are often consultants using a label of ‘Executive Coach’ or ‘Business Coach’. Many of these Coaches may or may not have had any specific or relevant training to Coaching which is one of my reasons for writing this and key word targeting “Executive Coach in China”. I want people to know that there are fantastic Coaches out there that will expand and literally blow your mind to another level! They can help you so much with Career, happyness, wholesomeness, goal achieving and more. There actual levels to psychological development and it’s not uncommon at all for my clients to find themselves raising one or two levels.

As the diagram above illustrates, Executive Coaching focuses more on the behaviours and skills used by the individual rather than the business. It is more like ‘Advanced Life Skills’. And let that be a very positive term. This Coaching can be used to help someone with team work, leadership, delegation, time management, interviews, public speaking, conflict resolution, and the list goes on.

One great Executive Coach I know in Shanghai comes from a HR background. Is certified in Coaching and NVC (Non-Violent Communication). He has extensive coaching experience including clients like BMW, Coca-Cola. There is another who like me, came from a military background. These Executive Coaches have more Coach-Specific training, more people based training/coaching skills/qualifications then the Business Coaches.

A common and thoughtful definition of executive coaching is that it “represents regular one on one meetings between executive and a trained facilitator, designed to produce positive changes in executive business like behavior in a limited time frame.”

This definition of executive clarifies:

  • Who coaches are: trained facilitators/coaches
  • What coaches do: produce positive changes in business behavior
  • When things happen: on a set schedule within a limited time frame

To expand on what it really does I’ll share some of my experience.

Personally, I’ve assisted a lot of executives with improving their team skills, leadership skills, presentation, confidence and communications which has lead them to prompt promotions and salary increases. My average client receives salary improvements of at least 20% in the first 6 months of coaching. (Most Coaching engagements go anywhere from 4 sessions to 18 months). Some executives have also seen me because they are struggling in their relationship, not feeling fulfilled with life/career, or they want to move out of their field and start something else. I provide a completely confidential and judgement free space to discuss and share ideas. Brain storm. Help them gain clarity around what they want, see the bigger picture and often work out some of the little specifics, such as what to say, or how to handle a specific challenge.


Who is an Executive?

Textbook definition, Executive is anyone who makes decisions.

According to this definition of Executive, an Executive Coaches target market is effective anybody. Now that doesn’t make sense.

From my perspective, and would I would like to suggest;

Accredited executive coach JapanExecutive Coaches are regularly hired by MNC’s to enter and work with their high potential staff. Executive Coaches are also hired directly by many executives who simply see value in creating a strong coaching partnership.

Generally small business owners hire Business Coaches. MNC will have an advisory board or directors providing advice and asking questions rather than Business Coaches however those advisors and directors may call upon an array of coaches to work inside their organisations. Business Coaches are ideal for Micro to Medium Businesses with specific business goals wanting to be reached in reduced time frames.

I would also like to add, there are coaches highly trained and experienced that can help a business owner achieve more income and fulfillment without specificly being a business coach. I have a small business owner coming to my office for coaching. We are looking at his business, personal life, relationships and overall happiness with life. He was motivated to see me because his business was not performing and he knew it was a personal problem rather than a business problem. (Motivation/sabotage/looping). We are turning around his business which many of my clients have done. Yet I do not call myself a business coach.

By working with a coach you may find health, financial, relationship benefits without the coach calling themselves a ‘Health, Financial, Relationship Coach’. Determine what  you need. Speak to someone like me. Allow me to make suggestions on Coaches that can help you achieve what you want to achieve.



If hiring your own Coach:

If forming partnership with a Executive Coach in China, or even a Business Coach. I’m available to help advise yet please consider the following 3 tips to ensure you find a good fit:

1. Check for work/life history on Linkedin

  • Example have a look at my Linkedin to get an idea: https://au.linkedin.com/in/adriancahill.


    • The Coach having experience in your industry can appear and feel great. It can also be a hindrance as the Coach may ‘buy in’ to the same false limitations that you see. The Coach may share similar rather than different thinking styles. What may be better is that the Coach has worked with people in your industry or people that have achieved what you are trying to achieve.
    • If they are a full time coach or a successful coach, than their current occupation should reflect this.
    • If you see previous experience in Marketing or Sales, expect that their marketing or sales skills may be higher than their ability to perform coaching roles.


2. Check for references and testimonials that lead to real people. It is sadly becoming common practice for many people to effectively write their own endorsements and sign it off as ‘Jay Blogs, MD’ or ‘Annette, IBM’. IBM has a strong Internal Coaching program and if Annette was really impressed why would she not leave her full name. Again Linkedin is great way to check for real references and testimonies.


best executive coach in china best business coach in china3. Check for ICF (International Coaching Federation) Accreditation for any Executive/Life/Personal Development/Performance coaches. It’s where the best full time coaches are. For Business Coaches check for Business training and history like a MBA or AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors).



Feel free to email in with your questions or schedule a time to chat. Happy to answer, recommend other coaches, or even help you on the spot from my own experience.

Ok. This article should make it much easier for anyone looking to hire a coach, interested in working with a Business/Executive Coach in China.

adrian cahill executive coach china
Adrian Cahill,
3 x TEDx Speaker
ICF ACC with over 700 Coaching hours logged
Flexible and easy to talk to.

Click here to schedule.