Your growth mindset tells you that you need a business coach, but what kind of consultant do you need?
How do you identify the right kind of consultant to align with your growth mindset needs?
Searching for a business coach can be like shopping when you are hungry. We all know you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. The grumble of your stomach can override your better senses and you soon find there are items in your cart that you don’t need. Hiring a consultant has similar dangers.
Be clear about your vision for your business
Everything starts with vision. Vision at times requires us to get clarity on who we are and where we are going. Effective shopping starts with a list and a purpose. I want to make a delicious spaghetti dinner so I go to the store for noodles, sauce, meat and a side. Effective shopping to execute on this vision requires:
Clarity in hiring a business coach
Your grocery list does not need to lay out the menu for every day of the rest of your life. Unless you are only buying canned and frozen foods, this is implausible. What do you need in the next month or quarter to help you move towards your personal or professional goals?
A consulting plan requires some thought
If you hunt for a business coach or consultant without a plan, you may be writing a blank check. Don’t leave yourself susceptible to scam artists or under performing professionals.
The importance of vision in hiring a business coach
If you have put your short term grocery list together, you know a few key areas that you need help. Rather than leaving the list open to your hunger for change, compose a list of potential partners that can help with your specific needs. If you need a financial specialist, don’t hire someone in the legal niche.
If the coach you are interviewing cannot tell you what they specialize in, they likely are not suited to your needs. Rather than leading with your needs, as questions to draw out their abilities. Fast Company identifies aspects of legitimacy in consulting which includes identifying specialists.
Questions when screening a personal or professional consultant
Structuring accountability in business coaching
Get some references from your potential consultant. Ask to speak to a business leader that this consultant has assisted from your industry. Ask to speak to a professional who is working through the same challenges you are working through.
Key perspectives when hiring a consultant
Arriving home with a trunk full of groceries when you left home for a gallon of milk may be amusing. In business, these habits and mishaps can cause long term damage to your business. A strong growth mindset includes discipline to maintain vision is executed consistently. Hiring a personal or professional coach can set you forward or hold you back.
Read more – what is a consultant
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
In the pursuit of personal and professional growth, many have turned to consultants. What is a consultant?
A consultant is a noun. The simple definition – a person who provides expert advice professionally. So, let’s deconstruct that and dive further into the question, consultant – what is it?
A consultant is a person.
People need people. We all have our people but not all our people are helping us move towards our vision or live out our values. Synonymous with consultant is the mentor. As we noted previously in The Daily Positive, “Professional athletes have coaches and trainers even though they are at the very height of their professional skills, earning, and influence. Seeking the assistance of someone who can assist you to tug, carry, or chart your way through the murky waters of personal development can be a very positive and fulfilling addition to your professional adventure.” The perspective of another person can be a helpful thing. Forbes outlines that for a person to be successful as a consultant they need to be – different, strong and committed.
A consultant is a person who provides expert advice.
There is an odd paradox in most organizations where those in a position of leadership (PIAPOL), if they are willing to recognize that they need to improve they often overlook the resources within their own teams. I remember working with a church in California and hearing, a consultant is anyone that doesn’t work in your own organization. Expressing the sentiment that leaders and organizations will often turn outward before they turn inward for ideas. Scott Adams, the famed creator of the comic Dilbert puts it this way, “Consultants have credibility because they are not dumb enough to work at your company.” Expert advice should be born of expert experience rather than just expertly worded or presented information.
A consultant is a person who provides expert advice professionally.
To the cynic, a mentor is anyone who convinces another person that they should be paid for their opinions. Frequently consulting firms are hired based upon their branding, name recognition, rather than individualized skills or perspectives relevant to the organization that they are assisting. I recall early in my career working with a company in Oregon that had hired a consulting firm. A young man fresh out of school came and ran a weeks worth of interviews and metrics only to share with us a few generic recommendations. The bill did not match the attention, recommendations or follow through from the firm or the expert we were assigned. A consultant should be a person, but that should not be the only qualification. A business coach should have unique skills to bring to the table and should have expert advice earned through experience in helping organizations achieve their goals.
Like a skilled personal trainer who assists clients to reach their health goals, a business consultant will be skilled in drawing out the vision of the person they are working with, outlining a progressive plan to identify, build upon and reach their goals. It’s fun to watch someone like Gordon Ramsey who is an entertaining character but has crafted a persona of getting in, getting the best out of a team and then getting out, as he does in his newest show 24 Hours to Hell and Back. The consultant works with the client, coming alongside them and progressively working themselves out of a job. A good mentor, coach or consultant will be mindful to ensure there are developing the will, the skill and the chill of their client rather than making them dependent.
A quality consultant relationship will help you connect with resources, collaborate on ideas and conquer your goals.
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
In the progression of building a team, by the time you reach the on-boarding phase you have done much of the initial heavy lifting. Where in years past candidates would seek out your organization looking for an opportunity for employment, the tables have now turned and most companies are actively engaging in proactive recruiting measures.
According to Fit Small Business, a 2017 study from Hire Well noted that, “52% of hiring managers claim that passive candidate recruitment has been less effective.” When your corporate and/or local listing are competing not only with a void in the labor market of available candidates but also the likes of professional recruiters on sites such as LinkedIn, your traditional methods of recruitment are going to lose their effectiveness. Employers that are looking to add talent to their organization are going to have to adopt the posture of hunters who understand their target and are adapting to the surroundings which would include a shortage of prey.
One quick tip is to expedite the screen process through simple means such as texting candidates as introduced in our article, Text For Hire.
If you have new employees to on-board into your organization than you have at least been able to chip away and some fragment of the quantity issue. You have increased your headcount, even if that is only one employee, which is something many companies are struggling to do. This deserves at least a golf clap. Now we want to begin the quality aspect of team additions, we want to create an entry experience that excites them to engage in the organization’s mission. In their book, Insuring Tomorrow, Tony Canas and Carly Burnham work to bridge many of the gaps between organizations and millennial employees. Tony and Carly have some practical tips for the first day and orientation throughout their book in addition to reversing a myth about millennials and criticism, “They’re absolutely comfortable with getting constructive feedback, but worry much more if they get no feedback, which is what is truly demotivating for a Millennial (p 58).”
When on-boarding new team members, those in positions of leadership should correct bad habits and details early. As the Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach John Wooden states, “A coach is someone who can give correction without creating resentment.” If your hiring process has enabled you to attract candidates that connect with your organizational mission and values then this tone of coaching should already have been outlined. The right additions want to know how to do things the right way and how to excel in their roles within the team. Honest feedback is good feedback when progressing towards a goal. If there is push back on the feedback given, leaders will need to determine whether there was a miscommunication, an inability or an unwillingness as outlined in our article Conflict. Each response requires a different approach and will result in a different outcome.
All of our processes should be geared towards creating clarity as a lack of clarity is the prime catalyst for the corrosive effects of confusion and explosive tension of negative conflict. As we establish clarity in our vision, our values and our systems then we can develop consistency in our processes as well as accountability in our organization. Every phase is important and clear communication is essential from recruitment, to on-boarding and on through employee development. Be clear about your values and consistent in your approach and the process will create team members who are engaged and able to assist with building accountability throughout the organization.
// References // 1) Fit Small Business; 2) Insuring Tomorrow
I didn’t start making any real money until I got into remediation work, does that mean that my wife is a mold digger?
Would anyone other than a property restoration professional think this was funny? How did you get into water damage mitigation and microbial growth (the four letter word – mold) remediation or bio hazard (crime scene) clean up? I answered job posting in the local newspaper, when that was still a thing, for carpet cleaning at a time when the job market was thin and I wanted any job that would 1) get me away from my current employment and 2) allow me some flexibility to go to night school. In my initial interview I expressed that I was studying for a degree in criminal justice and the owner of the local franchise restoration company told me, “You would be great for our mold division.” Not having any idea what that was, I
replied, “Why yes. Yes I would.”
I have had many people over the years ask, what is a mold remediation division? It may be difficult for many to imagine but there was a time when insurance companies were paying on mold claims and there was plenty of work. Our organization had a good section of the local market, something that many franchises are no longer allowed to do, and our team was knocking out projects. In my professional pursuits doors were not opening in the path that I anticipated heading down while doors were opening in this new profession that only months before I did not know even existed. Sometimes we can be slow to recognize the clear turns that our journey is taking, but thankfully I was able to see a real opportunity to grow thanks to good leadership and support from my family.
I always tell new recruits – if you are honest, hard working and willing to learn, we can teach you to be productive in our industry (see article Hiring, 3 Character Keys). How do I know this? Because this is exactly what I brought to the table and was fortunate enough to have good leaders who were willing to teach me the skills necessary to succeed as well as provide opportunities for me to grow in the property restoration profession. Good leaders are a blessing to their organizations and their employees, if you are in leadership you have the privilege and the responsibility to keep those torches burning – whether you were provided with good examples by good leaders or if you had to carve your own path.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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