MANAGEMENT CONSULTING SKILLS

MANAGEMENT CONSULTING SKILLS

Planning on Treading a Career in Management Consulting?
Here are the Essential Skills You Must Have

To work as a consultant is no simple business. Not only does holding this position requires the right educational background and credentials to claim, retaining the job is very challenging, too.

It may sound dissuading for those who are aspiring to take the steps of a consultant, but the reality is that not many people really last in it. As the go-to person of many companies who are in the brink of trouble, to be a consultant is an act of heroism that is not very easy to fulfill.

Sure, you have one and only one role as a consultant towards those people whom you consider clients—usually, business people who are desperate to keep their businesses afloat—that is, to confide them possible solutions to their problem. But not all business issues are easily resolved or dealt with.

Oftentimes, the “clients” you are faced with may be egotistical people who are themselves hard to handle which adds to the weight of the work.

But, ultimately, the job itself is just hard to maintain because the nature of the work is mentally taxing. As a consultant, you not only process ideas based on the client’s inputs, you also get to squeeze your brain trying to formulate a solution and coming up with the steps towards its activities.

In a line of work where money is the basis whether or not your developed solution works, your credibility is also always at stake whatever the outcome is.

But this is not to say that there is not something good about being a consultant. As a career position that is close to the top of the ladder, having to walk the shoe of a consultant is an achievement. Many start out from the bottom of the ladder before climbing up several steps just to hold the title and, possibly, reap its accompanying benefits.

What It Really Takes to Become a Management Consultant

Possessing the right credential and knowhow about the work may be two crucial elements in attaining the role of a Management Consultant, but these two alone may not be sufficient in the real work setting.

To consider yourself a full-fledged management consultant, you must also possess other critical elements in your repertoire such as the following:

1.Listening skills

It may come off as a surprise for most people, but many consultants attain their job while missing out on one common skill—listening. At least, the idea was according to Roger Martin, a person of great influence in the consulting business.

If you are a person who is not keen at hearing other people’s problems and trying to develop pertinent solutions with its input, you are missing a lot in your role as a problem-solver to your client. Oftentimes, the solution you would be providing may not even be tailor-made to your client’s actual needs.

2.Credibility

Getting the promotion as a management consultant company may imply you having earned your employee’s respect to give you the highly-coveted position. But this does not mean that your clients will give you the same regard, particularly on the first day of the meeting.

Like many things in business—and with people in general—you would have to earn your client’s trust and it typically does not just happen on day one but rather over time.

3.Inquisitiveness

Knowing the right questions and how to ask it are another critical component of a good management consultant. This might even imply paving way for certain information not yet laid out by pointing towards it.

This kind of capability only implies that you are ahead of the game and is getting a full picture of the problem at hand.

Essentially, in this kind of business, asking is but just a part of the game.

4.Humility

Many may have the presumption that in order to become an effective management consultant, you must have all the answers to every problem. That should not necessarily be the case. Otherwise, that will just be pretentious and something which clients will not be too happy about.

5.Understanding of the target market

Every great consultant knows that when their client speaks about business, they do not necessarily just jump to the idea of revenues and overlooking their own customers. Businesses and customers are simply too mutually-inclusive to talk about one and left out another, lest it gets erratic and the solution be made inappropriate or ineffective.

As such, a consultant must also understand the client’s target market and use that idea as a pertinent element in the solution to be developed.

6.Presumptive

No strategy ever came to be without an underlying concept which supports its being. But in order to know so, you have to be presumptive enough to know what those ideas are and be able to create a link to the strategies derived.

7.Knows facts from opinions

Like any problem-solver, data gathering is part of a consultant’s nature of work. But not every bit of information you come across should be treated as factual, some may just be as a result of another person’s opinion.

One thing that separates fact from opinion is that the former is based on objective analysis of a particular matter while the latter is just a subjective derivative. Opinions could be either right or wrong but facts are facts.

When trying to come up a solid solution to your client as a consultant, it pays to deal only with facts while knowingly filtering out the opinions that merely clutter in the process.

8.Independent

One of the consultant’s greatest asset must be drawn from his ability to act out of level-headed volition. If you are not confident enough to make decisions on your own while dealing with a client, you will be taken for as a wimp who is not even fit for the job.

9.Great analytical skill

Forming up a solution based on a particular problem is not always something a consultant should refer to a book. Mostly the case, the formulated solution must also be produced based on the consultant’s sound judgment pertaining to the nature of the problem at hand.

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17 Comments

  1. Beautiful writeup….great details you have gone into to identify the attributes for a consultant…yes it’s not easy..requires experience ,knowledge and patience..

  2. Ramel Flandes

    Consultancy tasked is as complex as our body system works. Independently functioning but interrelated. Problem of the other affects the other part. That’s why systems approach is a material concept to be integrated in the approach to issues and concerns in the organization. Moreso, with the qualification of qualities of the provider of the course of action to be undertaken. Whether it be, in the generalist or specialist point of view , there are common traits that a provider must posses to effectively carry out consulting programs and projects. More common are public relations skills, communication skills, leadership skills,analytical, logical and critical thinking skills and the ability to resolve problems and the passion to serve the client – more than money as motivation to be of help but a vocation to spell the difference in the success progression of the organization. The main difference of being a generalist with the specialist is the possession of multiple skills, knowledge and expertise of the provider can offer to the client.

    Re type. posted since MAy 17, 2018. ty

  3. To be a management consultant worthy of this title, one should have credentials and must really good at what he is doing. He must also possess good listening skills, credibility, inquisitiveness, humility, understanding of the target market, presumptive, know facts from opinions and one must be independent.
    I may have some of these skills but I think I am good at listening, knowing facts from opinions, humility and independence. But I do believe that I still need to work hard for the development of all these skills. Because these are not learned overnight but it takes a lot of experiences and real-life lesson in order for one to develop all these skills and ultimately be a seasoned management consultant.
    Listening skills may be simple but takes a lot of hard work to develop. Because our usual tendency is to talk and talk. And when we stop talking and think we listen, we are not. We simply hear the words but we do not really listen. Because listening takes skills. One must listen with a heart or from head to toe, so that he would understand what the other is really saying. Or so he could understand the message being conveyed. He should not only hear the words, he listens to the tone and how it is delivered and understand the message conveyed. Because there is so much to know when one is actually listening.
    And when the consultant speaks, he is being believed or his statement is accepted as true. His credibility is uncompromising.
    Then when he asks, he asks questions not intimidating but rather encouraging to give the facts of the incident, problem or situations he needs to know. He asks questions to know what are the facts and opinions of people he works with. But a consultant must know how to segregate facts from opinions. He should understand the business by thorough research and study so that he should be guided on what to believe to be facts, not opinions. He may presume but it should be backed up by facts and figures and to some extent make an intelligent guess in order to evaluate the matter objectively without being influenced by some opinions.

  4. R.P. Alob

    What particular skills you think are good at/skills you need to develop further to become an effective management consultant?
    To become a management consultant, it entails a lot of knowledge, work and attitude. For me the skills I think I’m good at for me to become an effective consultant are the patience and the high tolerance in dealing with ‘difficult people’. In consultancy, since you need to be acquainted with your client you need to build a good relationship for you to be comfortable in getting the information that you need and for the smooth flow of work. But there are situations that you will deal with people who are indifferent and hard to deal with. Being on that situation requires a lot of patience and adjustment for you to earn the things/information that you need for your job.
    On the other hand, for me to become a consultant I need to strengthen my exposure to real business world so that I can enhance my skills in analytical thinking. In giving a sound judgement I can only have that if I have enough knowledge, experience and exposure in the real business world.

  5. Ariel V. Enarle

    Ariel Enarle
    As a consultant, being good in analytical skill is very important factor because you can easily formulate solution to a specific problem at hand based on your sound judgement. This is a very great help to the organization.
    Being inquisitive is very vital to a consultant. There you can retrieve information which is very helpful in the market is stiff. With advance information you have, implies that you are ahead of the game and you have the competitive advantage.
    Most important of all is being credible. Credibility is earning trust and respect from your colleagues,clients and the society. It takes time to have this to happen. You have to earn this through your performance and relationship with your clients. Having this a great advantage against your competitors and a building block for your career.

  6. Ariel V. Enarle

    What particular skill you think you are good/ need to develop?

    Being a consultant is very hard. It require intelligence, guts, credentials and expertise.
    For me, having an analytical skill is very advantageous. Because it is very easy to diagnose a problem if you have skill like this. Many people cannot immediately identify problem because of luck of analytical skill. As a management consultant, you will encounter different problems of your clients in the industry.. These problems are very complicated. Sometimes it involves human resources, operations, sales and so on. If you do not have the analytical skills, it is hard to render sound judgement which is based on facts. Secondly, having a listening skill is very important. There you will learn what are the problem of your clients. Active listening can create good rapport with the client.

  7. I firmly agree that a being a consultant is never a simple thing. Personally, I believe that it takes not only the right credentials, but great confidence, courage, and guts. It is not for the faint of hearts.
    Based on the article, I think that the skills that I possess which may be useful as a consultant are : Listening skills, Credibility, Humility and Knows facts from opinions. As a person, listening skills is deemed important because it is the first step in building good relationships. Listening is also a key to understanding a client. A consultant should not have a frame of mind on a certain business prior to listening to his or her client.
    Credibility, as well is necessary as it is a building block to respect. It takes hard work to build one’s credibility, as well as to maintain. Thus, it is a must that one person should protect his or her name for technology in this era makes it easy to spread any news about any person.
    Humility is equally important because it goes along with credibility. A consultant who is humble, he or she is also credible.
    Knowing facts from opinions require research skills. Thus, as a consultant, one must not rely on hearsays. Thus, information should be scientific, meaning, the data gathered has gone through a process before formulating conclusions. This is one VERY IMPORTANT skill that a consultant must have in order to have accurate database and derive realistic solutions.
    On the other hand, I think that I need to further develop the following skills to become an effective management consultant : Inquisitiveness, Understanding of the target market, presumptive, independent and great analytical skills.
    These are the skills are which take constant practice in order to develop. Exposure to a lot of cases and current events is needed to develop these skills. Thus, as a management consultant, one must be dynamic, updated with current events, a wide-reader, an engaged person and must have good communication skills. I hope one day, I could develop these skills.

  8. 2. What particular skills you think you are good at/skills you need to develop further to become an effective management consultant?

    Management consultancy is challenging and mind blogging; it can be an exciting and overwhelming. The task/job is not for everyone, consultants should possess conceptual, human and technical skills to be an effective one.

    Conceptual skill is the ability to analyze and diagnose a situation and find the cause and effect. One can acquire this skill by being exposed to different case studies while in school. Analytical skills can be honed through years of experience and exposure to the different situations faced while in the workplace. This skill is very essential for a management consultant in assessing and evaluating all the details involved in their client’s company. Furthermore, conceptual skill is necessary to effectively formulate appropriate solution to problems or issues that the company is currently facing.

    Human skills on the other hand, are one’s ability to understand, alter, lead, and control people’s behavior. It involves active listening or the ability to elicit information from a client, and the ability to negotiate and cultivate relationship with them. Good rapport leads to good relationship, to successfully establish this, a management consultant should have very good human skills. While many people believe that human skills are to some extent innate in each individual or acquired at an early age, steps can be taken to improve their interpersonal skills and thereby make them more valuable to an organization. Steps individuals can take to hone their interpersonal skills are practicing empathy, planning communications rather than saying or writing the first thing that comes to mind and active listening.

    Active listening and good rapport are crucial in formulating possible strategies to address the issues and problems of the client’s company. Hence, the success of the consultants rest in their ability to communicate and facilitate change to the client’s problem.

    Being inquisitive is an important skill, asking the right questions is critical in getting to the bottom of the issues and problems of client’s company. Information is power, the target market is important and detailed and factual data is necessary to come up with unbiased solution.

    Lastly, a management consultant should possess Technical skills; the job specific knowledge required to perform a task. These skills can be acquired through training, education and practice. Credentials like educational background can be one of the bases; another could be work experience while working with a reputed company and lastly, referrals and endorsements from past clients. These would establish the credibility of a consultant, the building block of his career.

  9. marie febby gumadlas

    management consulting (consultation) is a tough job, need long hours and high pressure job requirements. Together with tight deadline,……. a tougher people to get along with, work with, and to please. But, the other side of it i think a consultant must have
    1. ability to work with others – this skills must be consider because you have to listen and probably weigh what the next to be done.
    2. Communication skills/ listening skills – analysis and influencing clients for the business
    3. Great Analytical skills – ability to think well, know how to formulate a solution to the said problem, a problem solver.
    4. Flexible – because of the busy schedule you have, you know how to balance your time to your work, and to answer the problem without affecting you as a consultant and your client.
    5. Presumptive – sensitivity to create a new ideas, concepts and strategy for the company and for your clients.

    A lot of skills must be consider but, still believing that the rest of the skills will follow then, management consulting skills can only be decide whether you can succeed or not, after all you have to, a very demanding, service oriented and a challenging career to handle.

  10. Anie O. Diaz

    Management consultancy skills must be posses by the management consultant for the benefit of doing a right thing if you do consultancy. Having a complete academic records in the field stated is not enough to become an effective and efficient consultant because every individual has its own skills but sometimes cannot be determined or unidentified due to less exposure to the field that skills has the opportunity to develop or make use of it.

  11. Anra M. Rosaldes

    2. What particular skills you think you are good at/skills you need to develop further to become an effective management consultant?
    For me You need to be knowledgeable and expert to be an effective consultant. You can work and handle pressure and challenges . Know first what really the needs of the company and take immediate action .You need to be professional in dealing with your clients so that they will trust you. And most of all you need to possess good Attitude toward your clients .

  12. Lilia Militar

    Lilia A. Militar
    Management consultancy is not easy job. It requires expertise who provide expert advise in the different areas or field of specialization . For me, an effective consultant should possess great analytical skills. First I should evaluate the problem of the organisation and make a solution in a different point of view. But to become an expert we need a constant practice for management consulting so that one way or the other, we can help the organizations to improve their performance, operating primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of new plans for improvement.

  13. Ann F. Snook-Moreau

    I think listening skills are important in every line of work! You can’t expect to give your client exactly what they want if you don’t listen to them.

  14. The lists of skills which have been annotated in the given link are:
    Listening skills – I can very well listen to people as I listen with comprehension and analyses.
    Credibility- I believe I have credibility both as a person and as a professional. I have live to protect my integrity and my value system is in place in terms of moral ascendancy.
    Inquisitiveness- I do have a great deal of what’s around in my locality or my country, the political scenarios, the legal aspects, the cultural divergence and practices and I have been educated in areas of business, education, hospitality, and tourism as well as management. As I age, I continually update myself and keep abreast with the current trends and issues.

    Humility – have been raised to serve others and I think that is the best form of humility. I give due respect to all people from all walks of life and I have tried to live lowly but dignified.
    Understanding of the target market – I have a good grasp of the market or rather target markets and having a good knowledge about motivation and related principles.
    Presumptive – I do presume that the strategies I would propose and use will always be based on sound principles
    Knows facts from opinions – basically, I listen to both facts and opinions. They matter a lot and sometimes opinions affect much that it could make or break a business. I also believe in facts which serves to be the guiding principles in decision making
    Independent – I am apparently a very independent person. I have lived my life based on principles and I have a good sense of ethics. I stand on my grounds and I have a word of honor.
    Great analytical skills – I believe I have this skill having practice and developing my critical thinking skills.

    Other authors would enlist the following requirements of a management consultant such as: the ability to work as part of a team; interpersonal and communication (both oral and written) skills;creativity and innovation; problem-solving and strategic planning ability; analytical skills; flexibility; the ability to cope with pressure and challenges; and a lot more.

    Basically, I am a well-rounded person and I believe that I have these values, attitude, skills and knowledge that would guarantee that I could be a management consultant but I am also aware that I still lack the confidence to do it. Probably, with great mentors, I can be a successful management consultant one day. But I too believe that collaboration and coordination is the name of the game. No one is an island and with the trends today… connectedness is very important for one’s survival in this ever-changing world.

  15. Great tips! I have a few friends who are in this profession, and it really takes a lot of skill, patience, and hard work. 🙂

  16. Jerry G. Biaoco

    To be really a good consultant one has to be expert in the field of business operations. Apart from his academic qualifications, he should have a wide exposure about how companies operate and how to offer solutions whenever problems arise.
    Building rapport or good working relationship with his client is very important. He begins to assess the resources needed inorder for him to formulate solutions to problems at hand while maintaining trust from his client at the same time. He has to work as if he owns the company and is able to emphatize with the entrepreneur while having an independent mind of his own.
    Applying possible solution to the problem/s requires implementation so that the final change could be measured
    either favorably on the part of your client.

  17. Jerry G. Biaoco

    Management consulting is not an easy job. Aside from having good credentials a consultant should have knowhow about the work inorder to retain the job because its nature is mentally taxing.
    An effective consultant should be a good listener because the client’s input is very important towards the solution of the problem. He should also possess the skills in questioning so that he can tailor-make the solutions to the problem according to the client’s needs. Trust plays a vital role in trying to maintain credibility. While the consultant has to be humble, he has to take care of the business and its customers as well. The strategies employed by him should have a conceptual basis and he should always rely on facts while filtering-out opinions which may cloud the process of solving the problem. An effective consultant is independent and analytical. In solving the problem, he is able to analyze and integrate the parts inorder to form the whole picture.

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