As a consultant, we’ve already seen that you’re wearing multiple hats and completing multiple roles on any given project. What about your interactions with clients? We’ve talked HERE about setting your clients up for success, but what if I told you that you need to take it a step further? You need to be the coach and the mentor for clients in order to get them from start to finish and beyond.
Part of your job as a consultant is, without a doubt, to coach and mentor. Why? So clients can find the tools and their voice to continue on after you’re gone. You are not a permanent fixture in their business. That is the nature of consulting. The point is to set them up for success and also to help them find the skills necessary to continue on.
Regardless of what changes are happening in the company or in a project in order for it to run more smoothly, you have to be the coach with the ever changing game plan that fits your clients specific needs. This goes hand in hand with setting your clients up for success. Sometimes you have to teach a new skill or be the cheerleader in the corner offering support for an employee who needs to accomplish a specific task but is unsure of how to do that.
There is an end for you. Eventually, whether it be a month down the road or a few years, your consulting services will no longer be needed. Unless you’re going to be hired on permanently, you have to have mentored those around you enough that they can feel confident moving forward with the tools that they have been given.
There may be some company structure changes that have to be made in order to get the business back on track. These changes may be daunting to some employees. Maybe people are promoted before they feel ready or are not happy with management, etc. If this is part of the plan to set positive changes in motion, then you have to be the coach to urge them through it and you have to be the mentor to guide them in their next phase.
When you leave, you want to be absolutely positive that your clients feel secure in the plan and actions that you’ve set up for them. They have to be able to execute it confidently. They can’t do this if you haven’t mentored them with your expertise and knowledge.
You were brought in because of your specific skillset. Spend some time educating clients and making them feel comfortable doing the same tasks.
Many consultants probably never do this because they want clients to continue to rely on them. Using that approach is not setting clients up for success –it’s setting clients up to be dependent on you. I find it to be a much better approach to empower clients and teach them skills that they can take with them for the rest of their careers. You will be more trusted and more respected for it.
What are your thoughts on coaching and mentoring clients? Do you think this is one of the many roles the consultant should play? Why or why not? We’d love to hear from you –comment below!