What is Consulting?
Consulting is a helping profession that provides services to organizations and individuals. An organization might reach out to a consultant if it needs outside assistance for solving problems, navigating transitions, or training/evaluating its staff. Individuals typically look to consultants for guidance about how to effectively run a business, increase its productivity, or explore new fields of interest. Ultimately, the consultant’s main goal is to become “redundant” by helping individuals and organizations to develop independence in the way they address new challenges and manage change.
Individuals typically look to consultants for guidance about how to effectively run a business, increase productivity, or explore new fields of interest.
But what does it take to be an effective consultant? In this post, I will briefly look at eight qualities which are bedrock for that role.
1. Values Relationships
This point seems like a no-brainer but it deserves mention because consulting is not simply about making money – though that is a main objective. The best consultants actually enjoy the teamwork and comradery involved in helping their customers, and they are energized by the hard work of fostering understanding, consensus and growth in others.
2. Models Entrepreneurship
Effective consultants know how to turn their ideas into reality and help clients to do the same. They thrive on being independent, tenacious, and courageous in taking calculated risks to pursue their dreams. In other words, they model entrepreneurship to clients who themselves are entrepreneurs.
3. Demonstrates Competency
Consultants need to prove their competence to clients. This means obtaining the requisite certifications, gaining relevant work and volunteer experience, attending professional development workshops, and having portfolio documents available for clients to review upon request.
4. Communicates Clearly
The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is essential for all of the following consulting roles: (a) marketing products to customers; (b) explaining how services can meet clients’ needs; (c) securing buy-in and negotiating the cost of services; (d) finalizing contracts and writing client curriculum in straight-forward prose; (e) facilitating training groups using active listening skills; (f) leading focus groups to gauge public opinion about a product or service; and all the while making a good impression!
5. Networks Constantly
The skill of networking is absolutely essential for consultants as a means of marketing their brand and detecting opportunities for their clients. Networking means sharing and exchanging information with consulting professionals, business owners, and other key players for the purpose of mutual benefit. It’s about creating and maintaining ‘weak ties’ with people you can trust.
Competent consultants use networking skills to share and gather information for their client