There are times your client needs something done, but just doesn’t have the time or resources. Perhaps they need to facilitate a meeting or teach a class. They need a good consultant.

There are times your client needs an expert for a tricky situation that they don’t have the skills to execute. Perhaps they need to design a curriculum, to develop a course, or to create a survey. They need a good consultant.

And there are times where your client has a big problem or a tough situation. Perhaps to attract and retain talent, to take the organization to a new level, or to resolve a problem that appears to be intractable. A good consultant is not enough…They need a great consultant.

Great consultants are more than just someone hired to do a job. They become trusted advisers.

They are sought after and become the one person the client wants to do business with. They work together over time on multiple and varied projects.

As a consultant, how do you move from good to great?

Attributes of a Great Consultant Infographic

  • Both good and great consultants bring stellar expertise to the task at hand.
  • Great consultants bring their deep expertise but are not bound by it; they have a broader view and realize the complexity of the situation. Even though they have a hammer, and they are good at hammering, they know other tools might be required.
  • Both good and great consultants deliver what they promise. No questions asked.
  • Great consultants deliver more than promised. Unasked. They just do.
  • Both good and great consultants learn quickly. They immerse themselves in the situation, problem and organization. They stay abreast of new trends in their field.
  • Great consultants help others in the organization learn as well. They share knowledge freely. They mentor. They coach. When they leave, others are more capable.
  • Both good and great consultants hope to do more work with for this client.
  • Great consultants make another engagement an outcome of the client’s satisfaction with their current work. Their energy is spent on doing this work right now, not developing business for the future.
  • Both good and great consultants are skilled at analyzing the situation and making solid recommendations for action.
  • Great consultants are able to uncover the underlying dynamics. They know that the presenting problem may not be the real problem. And so they dig deep and get to the root of the situation.
  • Both good and great consultants analyze and provide an objective view of the situation.
  • Great consultants are courageous enough to provide an unvarnished view of the underlying dynamics impacting the situation. It is not always easy feedback to give or receive, but vital to understanding and clarity. Even more important, they present a solution that really solves the problem over the long-term.
  • Both good and great consultants care deeply about their work.
  • Great consultants care just as deeply about the client and their organization.
  • Both good and great consultants want to look good in the eyes of their client.
  • Great consultants want the client to look good and are willing to play a supporting role, rather than a leading role.

Becoming a trusted adviser takes time, courage, intelligence, and caring. When that shift occurs you have the honor of being a sounding board and the chance to stand by your client’s side on the toughest most intractable problems. You will be called late at night or on weekends. And that is when you know you’ve moved from a good consultant to a great one.

Are you interested in learning how CCL can help you grow your business and become a great consultant? Check out the CCL Partner Network – a network of successful coaches and consultants who are focused on growing their business and value the opportunity to convene and connect with their peers.

About the Author:

Kris Taylor

Kris Taylor is the founder of Evergreen Leadership and a member of the CCL Partner Network

She is also the author of The Leader’s Guide to Turbulent Times: a practical, easy-to-use guide to leading in today’s times. She writes, speaks, teaches and coaches leaders at all levels, from the C-suite to high potential emerging leaders. Kris weaves together her depth of experience in organizations, change, and leadership to create high impact learning programs where leaders emerge with deep insights about their own personal leadership and new skills in creating and implementing positive change in their organizations. Her work is based on working with companies across the globe to successfully implement large scale, mission critical change initiatives.

Her 30+ years work experience are rich in variety – from Fortune 200 (14 years) to non-profit (10 years) to leading her own consulting firm since 2004. Kris has been blessed to work in a multitude of roles, including organizational change and development, leadership, learning, and human resources, and operations. There has been one consistent outcome, no matter the role: her ability to promote, lead and implement positive change.

Her most recent endeavor, Evergreen Leadership, is the culmination of her personal experiences and thought leadership in leadership and organizational agility. It is based on her strong belief that the world is in desperate need of leaders at all levels who are effective in times of uncertainty and unrelenting change. The combination of her focus on results and depth in adult learning and change enables her leadership development work, in any form, to be high impact, sustainable and focused on results that matter.

Over 50 organizations have partnered with Kris and her firm in the last seven years to implement successful change. These include mergers, ERP implementations, business process redesign and cultural shifts to support a change in strategic direction. This work has spanned industries including health care, utility and energy organizations, professional service firms, higher education, manufacturing, and supply chain organizations.

Kris holds a Master’s Degree from Krannert Business School at Purdue University. She is on the faculty of the Purdue Entrepreneurship program and currently teaches two capstone courses there.

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