Often when another person and perhaps your client comes to you seeking your input, they may only be looking to you for validation, support and encouragement. How then, do you know that difference? Yes, consulting often involves ‘advice’ giving, but to build effective client relationships, the process of consulting must go beyond giving advice
Beyond Giving Advice
For Andrew, consulting refers to the conscious and disciplined process of giving and delivering positive and meaningful impact to clients and their situation. Notice the distinction? There is a giving and delivering but these actions may not always come in the form of advice? Let’s examine the elements more carefully.
Why is it about consciousness? Andrew explained that a consultant needs to be aware of themselves and most importantly, they are aware and understand their clients’ needs, situations, or challenges. “You do this by tuning into the challenges, hopes, and dreams of your clients. I do not think you could help your client if you have little understanding about them,” Andrew added.
The second element of consulting, according to Andrew, is disciplined. “The proverb practice makes perfect is so applicable to any consultant,” Andrew said. He added that when talking about discipline, it is about honing the skills of a consultant. “You should apply structure, methods, and tradecraft to give advice that ensures consistency of results. You can only have the consistency of results if you have become proficient in this craft. And proficiency comes with continuously developing your skills and learning something new,” he continued.
Andrew said that the essential part of consulting is the positive and meaningful impact on clients and their situation. “It is significant to ensure results. But the results should have a positive and meaningful impact. If the results failed to deliver real impact to your client, then how can you say it is effective,” he continued. He pointed out that consultants are seen as change agents in an organization. Therefore, providing a positive and meaningful impact on clients and their situation is crucial to any consultant. “You provide insight and will inspire action and results that come in many different forms such as commercial benefits, innovations, new products, and services or experiences for their customers…and potential benefits for your client’s career or professional goals,” he said.
Consulting revolves around solving client problems, expertise giving, and objective advice. “You act as a motivator of change,” Andrew said.
Learning Consulting Tradecraft
Like in architecture, consulting requires structure, method, and tradecraft. “That is why Consulting Unplugged teaches consultants and advisors the so-called consulting tradecraft,” Andrew said. He added that tradecrafts are skills and methods used by an individual in doing a specific skilled job. The course discussed four consulting tradecrafts to up their consulting game.
Andrew briefly talked about two of these consulting tradecrafts. One is the Strategy Tradecraft. “If you want to succeed in consulting, you should have a strategy. The secret of business success is to know something nobody else knows and stand out above your competition,” Andrew emphasized. As a consultant, he said that it is crucial to see the opportunity or threat and position himself. “You should know if there is a gap in the market that you can fill and determine if that gap is profitable,” he continued.
Another tradecraft is Operational Excellence. Andrew said that operational excellence is all about balancing quality and cost, which have a mutual relationship. Andrew explained that quality is tied to brand and user experience, while cost is tethered to profitability and process efficiency. “You should understand the tensions between the two and help your clients identify the gaps. The solutions that you will recommend should strike a balance between quality and cost. In other words, you should always consider the whole system or the bigger picture,” he added.
Andrew said that one of the roles of being a consultant is to help your client shape strategy and drive innovation to attain better results. That is why consultant professionals need the four consulting tradecrafts to achieve commercial and personal success.
Take The Opportunity
Andrew is allowing fellow consultants and advisors to learn the fundamentals to become an unplugged consultant professional. Andrew added that Consulting Unplugged would sharpen their saw and acquire new knowledge in building relationships with their clients and delivering positive and meaningful impact.
“Right now, the world needs skilled advisors, change agents, and facilitators who can help individuals and organizations to solve vexing challenges and come up with new solutions that will deliver positive and meaningful impact,” Andrew explained.
Learn how to become an unplugged consultant and trusted advisor with Andrew Pek, the Consultant’s Consultant, by visiting https://consultingunplugged.com/.