Consulting Engagement Cycle | The 5 Essential Steps

Consulting Engagement Cycle | The 5 Essential Steps

Consulting Engagement Cycle | The 5 Essential Steps

There is a looming notion that in order for a consultant to consider his job done is to ensure that the efforts put into have come to fruition such as having established an effective marketing effort, social media presence, and speeches, as well as closing a deal with the client after a series of proposal, negotiation, and re-negotiation. But while these tasks may indeed describe the nature of the work of a professional consultant, it does not necessarily end there.

As a consultant, the company you represent make significant revenue based on your clients which are typically businessmen who are looking for professional advice. You might think that a one-off relationship is a statement of success as a consultant, in reality, a relationship between an entrepreneur and his advisor is more of a partnership than a short-term gig.

Although this does not mean to say keeping your client’s hooked by giving off half-baked pieces of advice, this might imply keeping precious clients on the line for future business transactions. If anything, this is best referred to unofficially as the “Consulting Engagement Cycle.”

Now, this is not necessarily a formula that guarantees a positive result. But it is effective enough to act as a guideline for those which are seeking to engage their client with an excellent quality service possible.

The following are the five steps in the Consulting Engagement Cycle:

1. Building a Winning Partnership

Although part of the success of a retained relationship with a client is a satisfactory output—say, increased revenues through sales—one critical element in establishing a good relationship is rapport. Even when the voice of money is more pressing than the relationship between a client and his consultant itself, a good relationship between parties plays a key role in it.

Good rapport is important given that two parties are meant to be partners in pursuing a particular goal. Like many businesses where two parties are involved, it requires the right qualities in the relationship for everything to work smoothly. Winning over a client based on quality output and winning them due to a good relationship is a win-win scenario in most cases.

2. Appraisal

Once you have established a good work relationship with a client, the next logical step in the cycle is to do due assessment about the problem at hand. As a problem-solver, you ought to be fully informed about the happening with your client and his company.

From the biggest to the tiniest of detail, every information you can gather during this procedure is critical in painting a full image of the problem with your client’s company. One important reason why you had to build quality trust with your client as an initial step in the process is to fulfill this task without reserve.

But, as a consultant, you are not merely to empathize on your client’s disposition but rather take on an independent view of the issue. This approach is essential given your need to impose genuine change towards the client’s problem.

3. Solution Formulation

Now that you have made your assessment, you should already have gathered all the facts you need to have a full view of the problem. With that in mind, coming up with a solution appropriate to the issue should come as a follow-up step from the previous.

This step may sound so simple enough. But real experienced consultants know that this step requires more brain-squeezing than merely going by the book to every problem. This might imply utilizing every company resource in order to come up with a solution which will truly address the client’s problems.

As a consultant, this is a very critical step in most consulting transactions and is the very reason why this job is considered difficult and not something everybody can handle.

4. Implementation

No devised solution, no matter how grand or intricate, is ever as useful as the one actually implemented by its maker. Likewise, your developed solutions according to the perceived problem is only good after having been delivered.

More than anything, this is essentially where the real bread and butter of a consultant boils down into. This is also where its power rests in facilitating change commensurate to the client’s problems.

But, of course, how effective or not your implemented solution will not be known to you immediately until such a time that you proceed to the next and final step in the cycle which is the doing of actual measurements.

5. Measuring the Results

 

After going through the oftentimes tedious work of analyzing the client’s problems, coming up with a solution pertinent to it, and implementing, many consultants may probably already be pressed to take a back seat from the task at hand. But the implementation part of the process is not the end of it all. Knowing how the solution turned out to be is.

This part is very important not just to your client given his dire need to resolve a company problem, it is also as important to you. For the most part, you will never really know whether the solution you yourself made is working or not unless you have seen the data which suggests it. Oftentimes, the pertinent data you may need involves time to aggregate to form any logical meaning.

But, of course, one of the ultimate reasons why you ought to know how your solution affects your client’s company and its problem is for the concern that you want your client’s business to improve. If not commonly the case, this might imply embedding benchmarking measures to your client’s company’s progress.

To be honest, having to isolate your individual contribution to your client’s company is no simple feat. However, you can track your client/ company’s development and even formulate an evaluation along the way.

Realistically-speaking, not every solution may always come off positive once implemented. Some do not discover an issue with the solution until everything is fully running. It is one of those uncertainties which the client should put into consideration.

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16 Comments

  1. Ariel V. Enarle

    ariel
    As a consultant is not an easy profession. You have a lot of things to consider before making any decision or recommendations to your clients. It needs expertise and academic credentials. Using the essential steps of management consultancy is not guarantee of success. Instead, it is only a guide in doing a consultancy job to achieve their goals and objectives. Being a consultant it needs a winning relationship with the clients through trust and building rapport. Having a mutual trust will lead to information sharing within consultant and client in order to create or formulate a solution to the problem. With the proper implementation of the solution will solve the problem of the client/company. But it will not only there. Continuous assessment and monitoring is very important to know the performance of the company . As a consultant, you have also to consider the external factors that can affect the performance of the company. Namely: interest of the stakeholders and threat of competitors.By doing so, success is not very far to achieve.

  2. Ariel V. Enarle

    1. How will you guarantee success using the 5 essential steps in management consultancy?

    Management consultancy is not an easy profession. It requires proper education and experience related to the profession. Our client expect to much from us. Using the 5 essential steps in management consultancy doesn’t guarantee a 100% success, but by following those steps, it will guide you as consultant achieve your goal. The question is, in what way? First he/she must build a winning partnership with his client.Good rapport is very important in pursuing a goal. Second, as a consultant,he must be good in assessing the problem of his clients. He must be sure that he is aware of what is happening with the company and he had all the necessary data needed. Third, as a consultant, he must be good in formulating solution. After having the full view of the problem, he can create a solution which is appropriate to the problem. This require actual experience related to the problem. Fourth, as a consultant, i make sure that the solution formulated is properly implemented. Lastly, after having implemented the solution, it is important to review or check if the solution is effective, and the clients company has improve. By following this steps , I’m sure that success is achievable.

  3. Jerry G. Biaoco

    Q1. How will you guarantee success using the steps above?
    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 in order for him to formulate solutions to the 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 solutions to the problem/s requires implementation so that the final change could be measured favorably on the part of the client.

  4. Management consultancy is never an easy job. It may have a great impact on the client and the consultant once a project becomes a huge success. With the pros and cons of having a consultant, still, there are numerous aspiring business persons who seek the help of professionals in setting up, strategizing or improving a venture. It may be true that not every business is destined to succeed, however, businessmen and leaders have shared numerous insights for others to learn from. Apparently, there are ways or steps to making management consultancy a success.
    Firstly, it is believed that the client and consultant must have established trust. Personally, I believe that somehow, both parties should share some similar values or principles, if not most. This is essential as doing business entails a lot of decision-making. A good consultant-client relationship translates to something more than material, more than the tangibles. Because both parties will have something gained after the project, besides money.
    As trust is built, there is openness in both parties. Initial diagnosis is essential. In assessing the project, it is important to cover all the nitty-gritty of the business. It is also necessary to make it clear that though a good relationship has been built, the job of the consultant is to be objective. It doesn’t mean that just because the relationship is smooth between both parties, the consultant will say things which are favorable to the client’s point of view.
    Once the assessment or diagnosis is presented, it now boils down to formulation of prescription or solutions to any challenge discovered in the business. However, to assure success, it must entail full cooperation and utilization of all resources involved – human resource, financial resource, etc. The client must also ensure that he is fully prepared on what it takes to change what must be changed or to improve must be improved.
    One important aspect in consultancy is the implementation of forwarded solutions. However, once implemented, it may be a roller-coaster ride for the personnel involved. Thus, it is essential that the consultant’s job does not end at the implementation stage. Success or failure is determined after the solutions have been implemented and results presented. Therefore, it is necessary for the consultant and client to maintain good relationship and constant interaction.
    These steps are ideologies shared to us by numerous experienced consultants and businessmen. Though these prescriptions may not be true to all, it is just a matter of how it is being put into practice. As an adage would say, “To each, its own”. To end, it is a matter of how persevering the implementing bodies are to try different ways on how to solve pressing concerns and improve their business.

  5. R.P. Alob

    How will you guarantee success using the steps above?
    A successful consultancy service is a too hard to measure basing only on these essential steps. For me it is a just a route to follow and there are times that needs to take turn due to some changes/bad roads along the way. Consultancy is a job that requires a lot of open-mindedness, patience and keenness for every detail in order to achieve the objective. In some instances, a consultant feels that everything was assessed and solutions was laid down. However there are unforeseen problems arise after the solution was implemented. Continuous assessment/evaluation and implementation should be taken and it would take time for a service to be considered a successful one.

  6. 1. How will you guarantee success using the 5 steps?

    There are no guarantees in achieving success but the 5 steps can guide management consultants toward the attainment of their goals. The steps outlined sets off the direction for the consultant, from establishing rapport and relationship, to proper appraisal and diagnosis of the issues and problems faced by the clients, formulating appropriate solutions, effective and efficient implementation of the developed solutions and lastly to coming up with performance measures.

    Internal factors in the organization can be controlled but external factors are uncontrollable. As such, following the steps can help in designing suitable solutions to existing problems and scenario planning for identified threats that might possibly come up in the future.

  7. 1. How will you guarantee success using the 5 steps?

    There are no guarantees in achieving success but the 5 steps can guide management consultants toward the attainment of their goals. The steps outlined sets off the direction for the consultant, from establishing rapport and relationship, to proper appraisal and diagnosis of the issues and problems faced by the clients, formulating appropriate solutions, effective and efficient implementation of the developed solutions and lastly to coming up with performance measures.

    Internal factors in the organization can be controlled but external factors are uncontrollable. As such, following the steps can help in designing suitable solutions to existing problems and scenario planning for identified possible threats.

    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, a management consultant 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. Hence, this skill 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 consultants 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, management consultants 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 these skills and thereby make them more valuable to an organization. Steps individuals can take to hone their human 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 solutions 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.

    Lastly, management consultants 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,

  8. How one will guarantee success using the given 5 essential steps of consulting engagement cycle>
    Success is a relative term. Nevertheless success can be achieved. Whether by following a standard written formula or by just the turn of events and sheer luck.
    Given the essential steps and by methodically applying it coupled with the right character, I believe success is guaranteed.
    It is but essential that the management consultant and the people he works with should have a very good working relationship. It is the very foundation of management consultancy’s success. The consultant should have the right character to build and develop rapport between the clients. In so doing, working things out for the business will go smoothly. It should always be remembered that consultants and clients are partners in pursuing the goal of the business. They should have common aspirations to make their strategies work. And if along the way, difficulties occur and individual differences arises, the consultant should strive to maintain good relationship until even after the end of the project. Because even after the project is done and whatever the outcome, untarnished relationship matters.
    The next thing that management consultant would do in the course of his engagement is appraising the status of the business and the assessment of the problem on hand. The consultant should possess skills and better judgement on what really the problem is. In short, this is a diagnosis stage. This is also a crucial stage, because the actions that come next is dependent on the perceived problem. Meaning the solution is dependent on the problem at hand and its short term and long-term effects. A wrong diagnosis would lead to a wrong solution. It is noteworthy to remember that not all issues are problem and not all problems are issues at hand. The consultant no matter how close and good his relationship is with the client should maintain an independent and objective appraisal and assessment of the problem.
    Because an accurate diagnosis would lead to a better formulation of solution. The solution should address the problem of the client’s business. This is also a critical stage where employees were affected, resistance to change may arise, changes occur and company’s resources are being utilized. So that consultants should consider all these in solution formulation bearing in mind and without sacrificing the goal of the business.
    All of these are of no value until its implementation. During this stage, the consultant should be very vigilant in every stage of the implementation process. Because the perceived changes in his solution formulation is now real. And resistance to change is expected and very high in probability. He should always see to it and facilitates that changes are geared towards the solution of the problem.
    After all things had been said and done. The consultant should have a way of measuring the results. He should ascertain that the problem was solved or not. He should evaluate what solutions formulated were done and were not done and see if any and all these contribute to the solution of the problem. He should appraise on how the solution turned out to be.
    Every consultant wants that the problem is totally solved, but this is not always the case. Some may partially solved the problem, others may not and success favors to few.
    Whatever the outcome may be, it is of paramount importance that the consultant and the client maintain good relationship like that at the start of the engagement, because I believe that it is only then that the consultancy succeeds.
    How one will guarantee success using the given 5 essential steps of consulting engagement cycle>
    Success is a relative term. Nevertheless success can be achieved. Whether by following a standard written formula or by just the turn of events and sheer luck.
    Given the essential steps and by methodically applying it coupled with the right character, I believe success is guaranteed.
    It is but essential that the management consultant and the people he works with should have a very good working relationship. It is the very foundation of management consultancy’s success. The consultant should have the right character to build and develop rapport between the clients. In so doing, working things out for the business will go smoothly. It should always be remembered that consultants and clients are partners in pursuing the goal of the business. They should have common aspirations to make their strategies work. And if along the way, difficulties occur and individual differences arises, the consultant should strive to maintain good relationship until even after the end of the project. Because even after the project is done and whatever the outcome, untarnished relationship matters.
    The next thing that management consultant would do in the course of his engagement is appraising the status of the business and the assessment of the problem on hand. The consultant should possess skills and better judgement on what really the problem is. In short, this is a diagnosis stage. This is also a crucial stage, because the actions that comes next is dependent on the perceived problem. Meaning the solution is dependent on the problem at hand and its short term and long-term effects. A wrong diagnosis would lead to a wrong solution. It is noteworthy to remember that not all issues are problem and not all problems are issues at hand. The consultant no matter how close and good his relationship is with the client should maintain an independent and objective appraisal and assessment of the problem.
    Because an accurate diagnosis would lead to a better formulation of solution. The solution should address the problem of the client’s business. This is also a critical stage where employees were affected, resistance to change may arise, changes occur and company’s resources are being utilized. So that consultants should consider all these in solution formulation bearing in mind and without sacrificing the goal of the business.
    All of these are of no value until its implementation. During this stage, the consultant should be very vigilant in every stage of the implementation process. Because the perceived changes in his solution formulation is now real. And resistance to change is expected and very high in probability. He should always see to it and facilitates that changes are geared towards the solution of the problem.
    After all things had been said and done. The consultant should have a way of measuring the results. He should ascertain that the problem was solved or not. He should evaluate what solutions formulated were done and were not done and see if any and all these contribute to the solution of the problem. He should appraise on how the solution turned out to be.
    Every consultant wants that the problem is totally solved, but this is not always the case. Some may partially solved the problem, may not and success favors to few.
    Whatever the outcome may be, it is of paramount importance that the consultant and the client maintain good relationship like that at the start of the engagement, because I believe that it is only then that the consultancy succeeds.

  9. The steps stated above could guarantee the success of the group, but for me the most effective way to do to affirm your success is to be confident about your decisions and actions and think critically about the work.

  10. Anra M. Rosaldes

    1.How will you guarantee success using the steps above?
    The steps stated above could guarantee the success of the group, but for me the most effective way to do to affirm your success is to be confident about your decisions and actions and think critically about the work.

  11. ANIE O. DIAZ

    Using the essential five steps in management consultancy can guarantee a success, because it is clearly discussed and presented that being a management consultant see to it that good relationship must be build up first between you and to your client. Knowing the problems and exchanging of ideas for both parties if open could come up with suggestions, recommendations and the solutions is well determined. Has been said as steps means should be in order, therefore for the application as management consultant better to follow the given steps to have an assurance or can guarantee a success.

  12. marie febby gumadlas

    They said only strong one survive, competition are like grasses/weeds everywhere, all is in digital form even company and clients offers in digital way. A good and powerful strategic plan in consultation is important, following this cycle of consultation is heading you up for change and give a better chance to the company. Building trust and good relationship with your client as a consultant is also a consideration to observed, putting your shoe to them is a sign of your sensitivity attitude against them. Consulting transactions is a critical steps to decide as a consultant, that needs to be manage in every way.
    Implementing solved solutions to the problem is also a measurement for the actual improvement of the company, as a consultant it gives you a positive response is the company is growing or doing well as the results mentioned. And as a consultant be ready to embrace, and learn to accept again, putting space for the improvement of the company using consulting engagement cycle for .

  13. Ramel Flandes

    1st paragraph for Q1….and 2nd Paragraph for Q2…TY fyi po.

  14. Lilia Militar

    1. How will you guarantee success using the the five steps?
    For me as a consultant using this steps is not a guarantee for the success of the organization. Yet it is our guide for a better output for our future plans. Self determination and working relationship towards the progression of the business. Successful consultancy is the result of one mind, one goal, one vision.
    2. What particular skills you think you are good at/ skills you need to develop further to became an effective management consultant?
    Management consultancy is not an easy job. It requires expertise who provide expert advice in the different areas or field of specialization. To became 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.

  15. Before I would answer the question on how could a consultant guarantee success using the five-point essential steps, I would like to say something about it so that it would somehow summarize the things needed for a success.
    1. Building a winning partnership is the first step in creating a relationship with a client wherein TRUST is very crucial. Everything today is too open, the use of technology, the media and any other form of information could easily come out in the community. People today are very vocal about their opinions and anybody can certainly make a comment and this can either make or break any relationship, particularly if it is in its crucial stage.
    Management consultants have to create their stature or image and credibility and integrity before people or companies would allow them to help their business improve, grow and perform better by providing advice and expertise that would answer the needs of the clients. The qualification of the consultant is very important in determining his ability to effect positive change as required for the job.
    2. Appraisal- another term for this is business evaluation wherein a set of processes or procedures are used to value or evaluate an owner’s interest in a certain business or organization. Appraisal come in different forms such as general appraisal, performance appraisal, technological appraisal, employee management appraisal, project evaluation review. Most often, appraisals are well defined or created with the help of psychologists or behavioral scientist and management authorities. Financial appraisals could be done by accountants, financial managers or analysts, statisticians and even through actuarial.

    3. Solution Formulation- in creating solutions, there are basic steps to be considered, among them are: identifying the issues, understanding the need and listing all possible solutions, providing a course of actions and recommendations.

    4. Implementation – this is the process of putting decisions into actions. This is easier than done but this is the “moment of truth” wherein the course of actions are put to test or are actualized.

    5. Measuring the results- Profit is one of the reasons why any business exists. It could easily be translated into accounting equations. Accounting is believed to be the eyes and ears of the business and it could show basically how the firm is doing in terms of return on investment, increase in sales, liquidity, and others.

    When finally, the output or effect is positive, then we could say that the proposed steps or actions implemented were worth the value of the consultancy process.

    How can a management consultant guarantee success? If all of these principles and theories will be put into practice, then it is guaranteed to be successful. These statements are not just using strong words to convince but would entail great work. We could apply Thomas Edison’s principles, 1% Genius and 99% perspiration. Although, with the help of current techniques and technology, we could minimize perspiration.(Heather Guerrero).As the saying goes” Don’t work hard…work smart”

  16. Ramel Flandes

    Building self worth defines credibility. It is the selling point to create brand of self to interest groups needing consultancy services. Character defines being and is an important ingredient for rapport building with clients. It’s the partnership and relationship that bonds provider with the client to foster long term relationship. It is also a jumping board to freely share information and insights for better appreciation of the circumstances between parties. Trust creates possibilities of exhausting pertinent information to be used to come up with corroborating response to issues that haund organizations to become successful. A right perspective can be be set to come up with appropriate resolution of concerns and sound decision-making. The mindset of safe and stability as regards the recommendations and plan of actions can be fostered, whereby shared responsibility on the aspect of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of results can be commonly understood by parties. Successful consultancy endeavor is a by product of one mind, one goal, one vision client – provider relationship. “Sailing together reaches destination short fast and easy”.
    Consultancy tasked is as complex as our body system works. Independently functioning but interrelated. Problem of the other affects the other parts. That’s why systems approach is a material concept to be integrated in the approach to issues and concerns in organization. Moreso, with the qualification and qualities of the provider of the courses action to be undertaken. Whether it be, in the generalist or specialist point of view, there are common traits the provider must possess 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 multiple skills, knowledge and expertise of the provider can offer to the client.

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