Becoming a consultant is quite a challenge. Now, becoming a great consultant is even more challenging you would need to cultivate a broad range of skills to reinforce your expertise in business consultancy. Here are the most essential skills to hone and develop to be great on this profession:
Problem Solving, Analytical and Creative Skills
Apparently, the heart of the consulting industry lies on their ability to provide solutions to complex business problems. It is therefore critical that you have strong problem solving skills, as it is the main function of a consultant.
Great consultants climb the steepest learning curve in no time. They can gather information, identify and break down complex problems, and offer a practical solution. Also, great consultants come up not just with one solution to a given problem. They generate a list of alternative solutions, understanding the potential risks, impact and other critical factors to succeed. There would be cases wherein the situation may call for out-of-the-box solution too. So, terrific analytical and creative skills are also prime requirements to be great in consulting.
Communication and People Skills
It is not enough that you can crack the most complex cases in business and management history in order to become a great consultant. Management consultants must have excellent communication and people skills as well. All your brilliant ideas would be put to waste if you couldn’t communicate effectively. Of course, part of the job is providing polished advertising and marketing materials, presenting in front of the clients, and coordinating with your team.
However, having good communication skills not only means being articulate in both spoken and written communication. You need to be a good listener too in order to build trusting relationships with your clients, team members and other people in the industry.
If you want to be a great consultant, you need to learn the art of bargaining or striking a good deal. There will be a lot of negotiations when it comes to payment terms for a future project or changes to a design upon client request or feedback. Knowing how to effectively carry conversations with a client as well as making internal negotiations within your company will take you a long, long way.
Leadership and Management Skills
The success of any consulting project greatly depends on teamwork. Great consultants know how to build and maintain good working relationships with their clients, team members and other role players. Leadership and management is not just about delegating tasks or directing your team. A good leader can motivate or persuade his team into doing their best to achieve their goal. Solid leadership skills could spell the difference between the success and failure of any project.
Conflict Resolution and Dealing with Resistance
Uncertainty and conflicts are usual part of any project. Clients, the organization’s management and even consultants, may have differing views. That’s why conflict resolution skills are quite critical to carry out a successful project. Also, knowing how to properly address client resistance is a key skill for good consultants. They try to understand the cause of resistance and recognize that it’s normal. With that, they come up with alternatives and try to show their clients how accepting change can be beneficial to them.
Passion and Drive for Change
Passion and drive for change are actually more of a trait, but they are two things that the most successful consultants have in common. Not just any kind of change, but positive change that would help your clients to achieve their objectives – continuous learning, developing or refinements products and services, etc.
Having the ability to effectively implement the necessary changes is the key to sustainability. Great consultants know this and would never regress relative to their competition.
This is a guest post from Claire at Consulting Fact. . Do you dream of becoming a sought-after consultant? Their company provides comprehensive guides on the entire consulting recruiting process. From crafting resumes and cover letters, to case interview preparation, Consulting Fact offers quality resources to help aspiring management consultants achieve their goals.