Tips for defining your needs when searching for a local business coach or consultant.
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?
Consultant as 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.
Consultants and 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.
Consultants as professionals
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.
Consultants can draw out the best
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.
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Let us help you build and execute a plan for achieving success in your personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer