What Makes a Good Consultant?

What Makes a Good Consultant?

What Makes a Good Consultant?

David Joyce Director and Founder Zephyr Consulting

So, from time to time you need the services of a consultant. Generally, you know what you want the consultant to do for you so you already know the types of skills and experience you are looking for but often there are other personal attributes that will make the difference between a good practitioner and a good consultant.

My editor has asked me to cover off “what makes a good consultant in 400 words”. Well here we are 79 words in, so I better get started.

No matter what your industry, good consultants have similar personal attributes besides their skills and expert knowledge.

Good consultants always display professionalism towards you, the client, they are flexible and accommodating to your schedule and can adjust their working style to meet the culture of your organisation. They are confident, persistent, collaborative and are natural leaders, but leave their egos at the door.

Good consultants have excellent time management skills. It is a necessity, particularly if they are juggling multiple clients. They work hard and most importantly, they work smart.

Good consultants are problem solvers and possess sound judgement and will not jump to conclusions. They study, consider the facts, ask questions, challenge the norm and then make a recommendation or a decision. They use their experience from previous assignments to solve new problems and challenges in your current assignment. Bring them in and they get the work done.

Good consultants possess excellent written and oral communication skills as well as good listening skills. Consultants will meet people through the course of their work with a wide range of unique characteristics, not all of them pleasant or to the consultants liking. Excellent communication skills will generally encourage engaged people to be more open, which in turn leads to a better outcome for the client. They listen first and speak second.

Good consultants have a good reputation and will understand the need to protect that reputation. They recognise that Consulting is not simply contracting by another name and will be selective about the clients they will work for. If they believe the assignment is not the right fit for them, they will decline to accept it but may also recommend a colleague that is better suited.

And finally, a good consultant also leaves something behind on the table for the client other than the invoice and some drinks.

There you go, bang on 400 words.

Posted on: June 7, 2017David Joyce