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#935: Add Teaching to Your Consulting Portfolio

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 04, 2008
Updated: Friday, December 05, 2008
I have been thinking about ways to add to my consulting portfolio and I wonder if teaching will provide a lot of business leads.

A consultant is already a teacher. Part of your job as a professional service provider is to help a client address a problem or opportunity but another part is to provide the resources, teach skills and develop support systems to address similar problems in the future.

However, your question is how effective teaching might be to fill your pipeline. The answer is, not much directly but it can still contribute to your business development indirectly. First, teaching forces you to clarify your methodologies, validate your research and improve your ability to communicate your consulting value. In preparing for your classes, you will certainly weed out any outdated ideas, tired approaches, or sloppy logic (or your students will likely call you on them). Second, depending on where and what you teach, your students may be purchasers or influencers of consulting services. Certainly, teaching subjects related to improving company profitability to an executive MBA class would be ideal, but most students are not in this position. Third, teaching can connect you to other teachers, thinkers and researchers that you might otherwise not have access to. This can be invaluable in keeping you on the cutting edge of new ideas, or at least old ideas with new research.

Tip: Start small to see if you really like it. Teaching is not for everyone and being a good teacher is only loosely correlated with being a good consultant. Start with seminars and workshops. talk to other consultants who teach. If this seems to fit your personality, time availability and skills, pick a community college or adjunct faculty position with a subject you are familiar with and experienced in and where you can start to develop (or influence) a curriculum. A decision to teach is not forever, but remember to build in the ability to capture value for your consulting work.

© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA

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