The 15 Personality Traits of Great Consultants
There's no hard and fast rulebook to being a consultant, but there are certain personality traits and habits that distinguish the great from the good. Some of these you'll have intrinsically, while others have to be worked on, but either way, both you and your clients will notice the difference.
1. You're a teacherYou don't just waltz in and tell people what to do. Being a teacher is part and parcel of your job – good business sense isn't a secret recipe and you share it far and wide with all of your clients.
2. You can build trustThe solutions, approaches and changes you're going to bring to various businesses might not be easy to swallow for every member of the company, so it's up to you to build their confidence, and reassure them that you have their best interests at heart.
3. You have self-confidenceSome people might not like you, and some might not believe in what you're doing, so you need to have self-belief to override this and confidence in your ideas and your abilities. However, don't forget the importance of humility and accepting advice from those who know the business best.
4.You're articulate – and tactfulIt's not always sunshine and rainbows in the world of business, and sometimes people will thank you for cushioning the blow. However, no one will thank you for being dishonest or unclear, so it’s important to get the balance right, especially when the bad news is likely to have knock-on effects.
5. You have a thorough understanding of businessYou've got experience, you've got connections, and you never stop learning. People depend on your knowledge, so you're always one step ahead of the game when it comes to research and emerging trends.
6. You have transferable skillsYour skill set is as fluid as water, and you can help any business that requires you. You don't have a playbook full of predetermined tactics – you're versatile, and will adapt to any situation.
7. You're practical and theoreticalYou know that just because you read it somewhere, doesn't mean it works. You put theories to the test – or write your own.
8. You think on your feetNothing catches you out, and you’ll be ready to call on your intuition and wealth of experience at a moment’s notice. Backing this up with a thorough knowledge of your industry works wonders.
9. You're a good all-rounderYou're a consultant, as well as your own marketing, HR and public relations departments. If you're helping a business through an especially fraught time, don't count out being a therapist too!
10. You're a team playerYou know how to get on with anyone and everyone, and aren't afraid to pull your weight and do the more menial jobs now and again. Coffee, anyone?
11. You don't revel in the limelightYes, they've asked for your help, but you're the coach, not the star-player. A consultant is there to guide a client to an end result and not take over: you're the Mr Miyagi to your client's Karate Kid.
12. You're a problem solverYou love a good challenge, and thrive on figuring out the best route to take for each one. Being analytical, a good listener and level-headed, you’re adept at devising solutions to any number of problems
13. You're a good listenerA great consultant listens to their clients to fully understand their problems and goals. You don't listen for the sake of listening, you assume nothing, and you're always ready to ask questions.
14. You simplify and explainNot every business owner understands the ins and outs of finances, and some won't be tech-savvy. You'll be able to whittle down complex ideas to bite-size chunks that can be understood by anyone.
15. You have a strong work ethicYou never rest from the time you initially set out, to your unwavering dedication, to pulling a business through a tricky time.