When considering the core competencies of a successful consultant we could list out an endless stream, but I tend to think more generally about these three key characteristics IMHO:
- flexibility in adapting to new projects, work cultures, and colleagues easily and seamlessly
- discipline to focus on the end goals and work hard & smart in getting there
- confidence to deliver by recognising your capabilities as well as your shortcomings
The core expertise while dealing with clients can be complex and multifaceted, depending upon the nature of the business model and technology transformation scale under consideration but the essential consulting skills that will better support the development of anyone as a skillful and competent consultant will typically include:
Our communications skills (which I personally deem to be The No.1 skill) will determine how clients, colleagues, and everyone we interact with perceive our competence and capability.
Learning how to continue a meaningful conversation with your consulting clients and asking great questions is key to demonstrating communication skills. But do not forget that listening is just as important to your communication skills as the ability to speak and scribe. If you do not listen closely to what your clients are saying, you will be focused on just talking and offering ideas. Elite consultants let their clients do most of the talking.
As a result, great consultants ask better questions — questions that make their clients think and see different perspectives and opportunities. Questions that position the consultant as an expert and trusted advisor.
Attention to Detail
As a consultant, you will often play the role of the observer. You will be focused on whatever part of your client’s organisation you are engaged with. And you must be able to notice, analyse, and provide feedback on any areas of concern or interest.
It can be exceedingly difficult for your clients to assess their own business because they are so close to it. They hire you to provide an outsider’s view. You help them make more objective and informed decisions.
Demonstrating your observation skills including refined diligence involves every other skill on this list. By using your skills in problem-solving, objectivity, and communication skills together, you analyse and present your findings to your client — which demonstrates your skills as a keen practitioner. Powerful observation skills and mindfulness highlight areas in the client’s business they have never seen or considered before.
Critical Thinking Skills
Problem-solving is a core part of consulting. It is what you do for a living by applying your skills and expertise to a particular problem that your clients have and helping them achieve their desired results.
Armed with an elevated level of skill and experience in your area, your ability to solve your client’s problems is critical in what makes the right consultant indispensable to the client.