Blog (Maryann Croce): Coach, consultant or trainer. How do you choose?

There is more to building, operating and growing an automotive business than most new business owners realize. When a technician becomes a shop owner, many find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Their skillsets and experience lie in the doing or production. In most cases these technicians were known as the best in their area before they became an owner. Soon after becoming an owner they feel the weight of responsibility for the entire business. (5 Pillars of Business)

The role of an owner is not easy, but it is simple.

  • Assess – skillsets and values
  • Create a vision & goal
  • Develop a plan with accountability
  • Implement – activities aligned with your current goal

Keeping in mind that over time you will develop your skillsets, broaden your vision and reassess your plan, becoming flexible and adaptable.


The challenge most owners face is attempting to go it alone, resulting in years of spinning your wheels wondering how others are doing it. When you think of a professional or Olympic athlete, you know they’ve had help along the way. Guiding them in different areas to hone their skills to achieve desired results. Professional is the key word here. When you want to go pro as a business owner, getting guidance is the next step.

How do you decide what kind of help you need and when?

You made decisions when choosing your, accountant, attorney or financial adviser. There is a cost to all these services, but the cost is minimal compared to the amount of money you could lose without their help.

You need to do the same when reaching out for help to improve the quality of our thinking.  A skill which leads to making better decisions. Most people seek out a coach when they are not happy with their results or when they want to grow. Their motivation could be negative or positive. It can be daunting with so many calling themselves a ‘coach’


A coach is someone who partners with you, getting the information needed from you and unpacking it. You to gain insights to see the bigger picture. The focus is on the you the client and giving you context.  Explain your vision or goal, and the coach keeps you accountable while you are doing the work. There is a lot of self-awareness that happens with coaching. Example: A coach will help you to get clarity on the bigger picture to gain control of your business and life. The client has a new sense of confidence which leads to the implementation needed.

A consultant has an area of expertise. They assess your situation, identify the problems, and give you the plan or prescription for results. Example: A marketing or sales consultant will assess your marketing or sales process, identify problems and give you the prescription for better results.

A trainer will teach or train you on a certain subject or topic. They have the content and teach that content. The focus is on the trainer, their skills, expertise and knowledge. You will be better equipped to perform a task or work in a specific area. Example: training on diagnostic equipment or social media platforms.


What I’ve found over the years is that all business owners need training or consulting at times to either take something off your plate by delegating/outsourcing it, or to become more knowledgeable in a specific area to grow your business. It’s easy to identify the need for a consultant or trainer when you need help in one specific area.

What I believe is that every business owner needs a coach no matter what (stage of business) you’re in and here’s why.

Coaching – helps you develop yourself and by working on you, your business can become profitable, sustainable and enjoyable. Image what your life would be like having a healthy business.

It takes more than hard work and grit to build, operate and grow an automotive business.  When you go pro you realize that time is your most valuable resource and spending years stuck or spinning your wheels affects more than your business. It affects your happiness and personal life as well.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is where the opportunities are. You can’t see them or realize them without challenging yourself. It’s what the pros do. When you’re ready to run your business professionally, and tap into the leader within, it’s time to seek out a coach.

Here is a link to an assessment.

Find out if you’re ready for a coach.

Maryann Croce, a certified partner of Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year™, is a business coach and owner of Small Biz Vantage. Her company specializes in leadership development for trade business owners. She is an auto shop owner since 1999. You can reach Maryann at (203) 913-7741 or Maryann speaks on leadership and mindset.