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Consulting: is it for everyone?

What are the most important skills the consultant should be proud of in order to be really good?

Most of prominent advisors say the basic requirements are:

  • Self motivation.
  • Being proactive.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Diplomacy.

First let’s make clear what the consultants do.

The consultants usually analyse the current situation first, afterwards point out the areas which need improvement and then prepare a crafted solution that should be implemented by the company-client.

What you should know is that although the consultants are experts in their area of interest, they have to in fact have an open mind and possess knowledge in various areas, be well informed of the changing world in all areas of economics, no matter whether it is finance, accountancy or management.

The proposed solution should be a so called ‘best choice’ from all possible alternatives – in order to achieve that, they need a holistic view on the company.

Here comes self motivation, it is not possible to be a good consultant without constantly improving knowledge and broadening interests.

What is even more important for the consultant is to be proactive rather than reactive.

Some companies need help to deal with current problems – the consultants may help. Nevertheless, the actual role of the consultant is to predict future and try to in fact to prevent possible problems or furthermore propose a way of development that would lead to success of the company-client.

The consultant has to be creative and open minded - foresee the opportunities and make the most of them.

The consultant has to be a good negotiator and facilitator. It is not enough to present the solution, it has to gain support of the managers from the company-client.

The managers who will in fact implement the solution have to believe in its suitability and then they can work on its coming alive. People are usually reluctant towards change, a good facilitator could make the change easier to accept for them.

Last but not least, diplomacy is vital: sometimes you have to tell people things they do not want to hear.

Every person who wishes to be a consultant should ask himself a question about the above skills and if the answer is yes, just try it in practice.

However do not forget that sometimes it is wiser to work in a team – the brainstorm advantage.

by Linda Szkolka
Senior Consultant
co-founder of http://www.itcameleon.com/consulting.htm

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