Anyone can call themselves a consultant, but a certain set of characteristics is required to be a successful consultant. This video discusses those characteristics, and why they are important to your success.
- It doesn't take much to call yourself a consultant. But if you want to be an effective and successful consultant you need to have five specific characteristics. The first is technical depth. It's critical that you have the technical background to satisfy your clients' needs. This means you have experience in a variety of environments. The more breadth of experience you have in your technical area, the easier it will be to apply your skill as a consultant. Second, effective consultants need to quickly and accurately understand what's happening in their client's environment.
Your power of observation needs to be well tuned. Being able to listen carefully and patiently, observe the behavior of your clients, and make sense of what is happening is very important. Third, effective consultants care about the welfare of their client's business and the clients themselves. You need to be able to put yourself in your client's shoes and appreciate the difficulties they may be facing or have faced. While what you do may seem routine to you, it probably isn't routine for your client.
You need to appreciate that fact and behave accordingly. Another important characteristic is emotional intelligence. Often clients will engage you because they've had substantial difficulties. They may have a skill shortage or they may not be sure how to manage what you've been asked to deliver. All these conditions create stress. On top of that, you'll be striving to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can, so you'll be under stress as well. Dealing with all that requires personal emotional maturity and the ability to assess and deal with the emotional state of your client.
And last, resilience. While working as a consultant can be lucrative, there will be times when you're looking for or awaiting your next role, and you won't be getting paid. You'll need to be resilient when engagements end unexpectedly, when people you're working with won't provide the information you need, and when clients make decisions you think are unwise. While these things won't happen all the time, they're always possible. You need to be resilient. So those are my most important characteristics for becoming a consultant.
You don't need a special personality, just a bit of breadth in your character and the ability to deal with many different issues, circumstances, and personalities.
- Identify the critical requirements needed to become a successful consultant.
- Review the roles a consultant can fulfill to increase their success when dealing with clients.
- Recognize approaches for assessing your success level with a client before you've received a formal evaluation.
- Explore how to switch between consulting roles without confusing or aggravating your client.
- Review the change management conditions that must be in place to successfully deploy your consulting solutions.
- Identify the actions that maximize your chances for future work with a client.