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A great consultant

As a consultant myself, this article posted by the Centre For Creative Leadership provided a useful mechanism to assess how well I am doing in this regard.


“Great consultants are more than just someone hired to do a job. They become trusted advisers.

They are sought after and become the one person the client wants to do business with. They work together over time on multiple and varied projects.

  • Both good and great consultants bring stellar expertise to the task at hand.
  • Great consultants bring their deep expertise but are not bound by it; they have a broader view and realize the complexity of the situation. Even though they have a hammer, and they are good at hammering, they know other tools might be required.
  • Both good and great consultants deliver what they promise. No questions asked.
  • Great consultants deliver more than promised. Unasked. They just do.

  • Both good and great consultants learn quickly. They immerse themselves in the situation, problem and organization. They stay abreast of new trends in their field.
  • Great consultants help others in the organization learn as well. They share knowledge freely. They mentor. They coach. When they leave, others are more capable.
  • Both good and great consultants hope to do more work with for this client.
  • Great consultants make another engagement an outcome of the client’s satisfaction with their current work. Their energy is spent on doing this work right now, not developing business for the future.
  • Both good and great consultants are skilled at analyzing the situation and making solid recommendations for action.
  • Great consultants are able to uncover the underlying dynamics. They know that the presenting problem may not be the real problem. And so they dig deep and get to the root of the situation.
  • Both good and great consultants analyze and provide an objective view of the situation.
  • Great consultants are courageous enough to provide an unvarnished view of the underlying dynamics impacting the situation. It is not always easy feedback to give or receive, but vital to understanding and clarity. Even more important, they present a solution that really solves the problem over the long-term.
  • Both good and great consultants care deeply about their work.
  • Great consultants care just as deeply about the client and their organization.
  • Both good and great consultants want to look good in the eyes of their client.
  • Great consultants want the client to look good and are willing to play a supporting role, rather than a leading role.

Becoming a trusted adviser takes time, courage, intelligence, and caring. When that shift occurs you have the honor of being a sounding board and the chance to stand by your client’s side on the toughest most intractable problems. You will be called late at night or on weekends. And that is when you know you’ve moved from a good consultant to a great one.”

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