In order to create real value for your internal and external clients, consulting skills are critical. In the case of internal support organizations, that desire to act as business partners and have a real impact, it is important to shift from responding and doing, to thinking and consulting.
Across organizations, there are specialist with technical expertise who are ineffective at driving change and influencing others. Consulting skills can provide internal staff with the processes, practices and tools to effectively engage others and, in doing so, accelerate the company’s performance.
What are consulting skills?
Consulting skills are both a mindset and a set of skills that, when applied effectively, build trust, expand influence and create value for an organization. In this way, consulting skills enable and empower an internal consultant, creating job fulfilment. With the application of consulting skills, consultants deepen client relationships, the internal consultant not only problem-solves but adds real value by identifying problems and proposing relevant solutions
Creating internal consulting capability usually involves building a variety of skills including, but not limited to:
- Change Management
- Project Management
- Facilitation Skills
- Communication Skills
- Client Relationship Skills
- Consulting Process Skills
- Agile Thinking
- Critical Thinking
The focus is to build the same capability as external consultants, while leveraging the knowledge and awareness of the internal organization and culture.
Consulting skills are built over time, beginning with a basic approach, then interweaving more complex skills.
What happens during Consulting Skills Training?
Consulting Skills training depends greatly on the audience, their experience and current capability, as well as the role they anticipate playing.
Regardless, effective consulting skills training accomplishes several goals:
- Improves ability to think more strategically and systemically
- Builds excellent question asking skills (questioning skills?)
- Improves business acumen
- Reframes the mindset: getting what people want versus getting what people need
- Enables understanding of different communication styles.
- Develops skill to engage in difficult conversations
- Accelerates collaboration
Effective training is not a case-study driven approach, rather one that focuses on real stakeholders, a relevant challenge and a host of consulting tools to leverage in order to drive a change initiative.
The most effective consultant training is accomplished by working on current client’s situations within an existing consulting assignment. By using real world examples, participants can explore the role of the consultant throughout a typical consulting engagement. This type of custom training program allows for a dynamic flow of understanding and an opportunity to embrace new skills and immediate application.
Participants leave the workshop with a strategy to engage their real client’s in a more meaningful way. To accomplish this, our training extends outside the classroom with sustainment plans including learner cohorts, coaching support, webinars and access to learning assets.
Who needs consulting skills?
Any internal support or staff organization attempting to transition or enhance their presence as trusted business partners. These skills are critical for the future as repetitive business processes are automated or outsourced.
Consulting skills are ideal for:
- Training and development staff looking to provide more targeted solutions and improve their facilitation skills
- Internal change agents looking to codify their change management approach and increase effectiveness
- Human resource professionals attempting to increase the value curve and become business and thinking partners within their organization
- Any staff person looking for professional development, with an eye on accelerating their presence and the value they bring to the organization.
Consulting Skills with JMReid Group
We are consultants who have worked inside organizations in a variety of staff functions. We understand and have observed the parade of external consultants, with their business school backgrounds, proposing solutions that fail to take into consideration the organization’s context, climate and culture.
We therefore have great empathy for internal resources attempting to provide consulting skills. Our Consulting Skills course, similar to our other programs, addresses the mental model necessary and the tension that exists when attempting to be an internal business partner, and in doing so become an effective consultant.
We recognize the talent and wisdom that participants bring to the classroom. We therefore always customize the solution to meet their specific needs. We don’t recommend that internal consultants provide generic and off-the-shelf solutions – therefore we model this in our approach.
We design and deliver highly engaging workshops and sustainment activities to enable participants to make an important shift in their professional development.
To learn more about the JMReid approach to leadership coaching, take a look at our different offerings.