Consultancy Skills Toolkit

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Tips for Internal Consultancy

From our considerable experience of internal consultancy work, we have  listed below a few of what we feel are the key tips for anyone working in this field. We hope that you find them helpful.

 1. Success in consultancy is as much about managing relationships as content

Of course, for some  "expert" assignments the content is crucial. However, for most it is the  building and maintaining of relationships -  particularly between consultant and client -  that leads to successful assignments. 

2. What all clients want

Each client is different - in the way they see your role, in the level of involvement they wish, and in the sort of results they seek. With experience, one learns to read the situation, adapt, and establish an agreed working relationship. However, the following are common to virtually all clients:

3. Have a consultancy process

You need to have in mind a consultancy process  that you expect to progress through, as a game-plan for both yourself and the client. Not just because it is tidy but because it helps you to manage the client relationship. The one that we use envisages an assignment as progressing through five broad stages:

This is a general model and you may find it best to amend it to something that suits your own particular work and style. You may need to customise a process for a particular assignment.

4. On the practice of consulting
 5. Learning to Read Situations

If managing relationships is the key to success in consulting, then it is the behaviour and interpersonal skills of the consultant that make that happen. All really skilled consultants have excellent interpersonal skills. They need them in order to:

These skills - listening, observing, questioning, challenging, influencing, negotiating - are fundamental to good consulting and can all be developed through training and experience. They form a key element of our consultancy skills training.

 6. About you as a consultant
7. Consultancy Ethics

And finally - consultancy can be a seductive role. One can be in a situation of having influence and knowledge far beyond what people in the client's team have. Some consultants can be tempted to misuse this. But as a consultant you do need a set of ethics to work to.

If a client invites you into their operation to help them, they have the right to expect that you: