What Makes a Good Consultant? 5 Characteristics

Despite the many benefits of consultants, job seekers and companies tend to overlook these professionals. However, the consultants who do make waves are far and away better than everyone else. Companies like Peru Consulting have made names for themselves because they have a track record of excellent quality delivery.

If you’re looking to get into the consulting profession, you need the right skills and characteristics to help you stand out and get ahead of the pack. To wit, you need to keep the following attributes in mind as you begin: 

An Ability to Work With Anyone

We live in a diverse and highly integrated working environment today. Decades ago, the business climate was filled with people wearing suits and carrying large cards for presentations. Today, diversity is the name of the game, and everyone now understands that the environment isn’t what it used to be.

As a consultant, you could wake up and have a meeting with a CEO who shows up in a T-shirt and jeans. Your next meeting could be with a Fortune 500 company, and you could still have to meet with a school’s board of directors before the day ends. With these diverse groups of people, you must know how to work with everyone.

One of the most critical traits of any successful consultant is working with different people from varying backgrounds. You should have empathy in business and be able to understand the differences between people. You should know how to use these differences to your advantage and provide the right services to your customers.

As a consultant, your job is to work with different companies and be around different people per time. If you don’t understand the difference is human behavior and the social dynamics of where you are, all your knowledge will be wasted at the end of the day. No matter the consulting skills you’ve been able to build, you will also need the right people skills to help you connect with your clients.

A consultant will also need to have time to listen and understand. Working with different companies means having to address various issues. To ensure that you hit the ground running, you need to understand how to listen to your clients and internalize their needs. This way, every solution you proffer will be targeted and have a much higher chance of addressing your client’s problems.

Knowledge of Different Problem-Solving Techniques

These days, it is relatively easy to get on your resume and write “problem solver.” However, your ability to solve problems will need to be top-notch if you want to be a stellar consultant.

In fact, problem-solving is one of the most critical skills any consultant will need to have. Think about it – as a consultant, companies will call you and request your counsel when they have challenges that they can’t seem to overcome. If you can’t solve these problems, your clients won’t have use for you. It’s that simple.

To go about solving issues, consultants use a mixture of complex and scientific processes. These include APS (Applied Problem Solving), the A3 method, the GROW model, and much more. You will need to acclimate yourself with these models and processes because there is a high chance that a prospective client will ask you about your desired model when they interview you. Your knowledge of problem-solving methods will also come in handy when dealing with diverse company issues. Appropriate problem-solving methods vary based on the problems themselves, and you need to know which method to apply at any given time. This way, you can save time and effort and get the job done much faster than anyone else. 

Versatility With Skills and Tools

One of the primary reasons why companies hire consultants is to fill a gaping skill hole in their organizational structure. For instance, if a company is moving into the digital space and will like to implement it as soon as possible, they might not be willing to go through the entire arduous process of hiring. So, they just get a consultant familiar with the software to help with onboarding and get them up and running as soon as possible.

As a consultant, you will need to be proficient in using specific tools and administering a skillset. One of the signs of a genuinely professional consultant is that they know their stuff. They understand what is expected of them, and they know how to use the appropriate tools to get the job done.

As a consultant, you must expand your skillset as much as you can. Based on your industry, ensure to be well-versed with the required tools and software, and build your competence as much as you can. This way, any company that hires you will be able to reap benefits as quickly as possible.

Extensive Case Studies and Success Stories From Past Clients

Every business has moved online these days. Beyond the ability to liaise with prospective clients, a presence on the online landscape also ensures that you can easily showcase testimonials and information from some people you’ve worked with in the past.

As a consultant, you will also need to have an online presence. This way, prospective clients can check you out and see if your skills match what they need. At the same time, you can showcase testimonials from people you’ve worked with previously and use their reviews as social proof of your efficiency.

Interestingly, you don’t necessarily need to have a website. A social media page or an optimized LinkedIn profile can get the job done rather well. Just get people who have used your service to review it and publish these reviews on your page. Add the customers’ details as well, so anyone can verify them.

A Learning Mindset

Sometimes, the solutions to issues might not be so clear-cut. This fact is especially true in the consulting space. Company challenges are usually complex, and it will take equally sophisticated processes to get these solutions.

In some cases, you might need to put in extra hours to work on projects. You might need to spend extra money or learn some new skills to tackle complex challenges. As a consultant, you should focus on creating solutions and adding value to your clients. Sometimes, this will require going that extra mile to get the job done. You should be relentless and not rest until you get the task right.

Your willingness to learn should also extend to peers and colleagues. No one is an island of knowledge, and there is always new information to know about. Whenever you can, take time to listen to those around you and gain insights from them. You never know what could help you grow in your career.

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