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#251: Putting Your Consulting Skills to the Test

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 01, 2010
Updated: Monday, March 01, 2010
My consulting skill building comes from what I learn with each new client, reading and teaming partners. I've read all the "Intro to Consulting" books - what is out there for the mid to upper level consultant?

It is true there are a lot of "Getting Started" books and seminars for consulting and other professional service practitioners. Most focus on the aspects of how to define your business, getting your first clients and running a practice. What seems to be harder to find is a good blend of the nuances of higher level client service, understanding communication with clients at a high level, and sharing experiences with other experienced consultants. There are some good books to read about specialized aspects of consulting disciplines but relatively few interactive experiences where you can work with others to learn.

Workshops and case studies are my preferred learning environments. These require you to quickly diagnose the situation, clearly state your case, defend your opinions and research, and learn and adapt on the fly. Case discussions are a great way to see the world from another's position and help each other grow. IMC USA, in association with the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC Canada) offers Essentials of Management Consulting, an online, team based, interactive course to build your skills in three areas:
  1. Helping clients assess their current situation, including the business challenges and opportunities they can address to improve upon the present.
  2. Helping clients develop strategies for growth and development.
  3. Helping clients address change management processes while implementing recommendations.
Tip: These kind of opportunities are easy to put off as ones for which you don't have enough time, money, or interest. Reconsider that building your skills and expertise is not a passive activity. The most successful consultants, and the ones their clients value most, are cerated by making the commitment to hard learning and active professional development.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  learning  practice management  product development  professional development  your consulting practice 

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