How am I Doing? There are many positive aspects to being a consultant: having diverse and interesting work, getting to know a variety of people, and balancing my time so I can make a 5pm yoga class are just a few. But one of the downsides is that I don’t always get feedback on how well I am doing in my job of helping organizations grow and succeed in their missions.
What makes a great consultant? I used my network of colleagues and clients to answer this question, and came up with this Top 10 List:
- Be as good at delivering bad news as good news. There’s inevitably going to be a time when you have to state a harsh truth to your clients. A great consultant is able to do this with honesty and sensitivity.
- Be able to turn your experiences into examples. A great consultant has theoretical and practical knowledge, and can communicate both.
- Be able to use your skills in a variety of ways. What works for one client may not work for another. A great consultant uses their skill set to come up with practical and innovative strategies that work.
- Be able to simplify and explain a problem. A great consultant can provide understanding and insight into a problem by using examples, graphics or metaphor.
- Be able to provide more than one solution to a problem. A great consultant can provide multiple problem-solving possibilities, and can be relied upon to think creatively.
- Be self-confident. A great consultant projects a sense of confidence in their abilities and knowledge.
- Be a good listener. A great consultant asks enough questions to get the full story from their client before offering a response.
- Be a team player. A great consultant leaves their own personal goals at the door, and focuses only on their clients’ goals.
- Be your client’s most trusted asset. A great consultant develops strong relationships with their clients. Tell them the truth, using sensitivity and empathy, and work hard at ensuring they know you have their back.
- Make it about them, not you. A great consultant always puts their clients at the center of everything they do. You’re going to help your clients succeed. But you need to be humble and remember that the client is always the star.
What other attributes make for a great consultant? Email me your thoughts!