At a recent Chicago eLearning & Technology Showcase (CETS) meeting, I was invited to speak and share the top qualities of being a stellar consultant. This subject is very important to me as I recruit and place expert learning & development talent for TrainingPros with our clients. There were plenty of high performers at that meeting along with learning leaders that demand these qualities. For those readers who are always up for continuous improvement, I have summarized my presentation below, or you can watch the brief recording on top qualities of a stellar consultant.
The first place I started is always my first place – what does the client want? I polled several of my top clients and received consistent answers: consultants who are responsive, have an eclectic mix experience (e.g. instructional design, project management, development, etc.), and have worked in a wide variety of industries (most mentioned were finance, healthcare, and advertising). My clients also noted that they wanted previous corporate consulting experience which demonstrates a contractor’s ability to assimilate and be flexible in various cultures. They look for excellent time management skills along with a current portfolio and candid references.
As a relationship manager with TrainingPros, I would like to add how I translate those client requirements into priorities for the consultants I place. A responsive consultant is prompt with deliverables; timeliness is key. A productive consultant pays attention to the details so that rework is not necessary. A consultant who displays great leadership does a super job of managing relationships with client management, subject matter experts, and other team members. The consultants that I rely on are articulate, thorough listeners, and are highly organized and methodical.
The rest of my short presentation focused on interview preparation for consultants when approaching new client opportunities. First, make sure that the company is well researched along with the particular job description. Second, I advise consultants to have a succinct elevator speech about their capabilities and accomplishments. Third, a consultant should be ready to elaborate on their strengths with specific examples. Lastly, being able to address areas of development and actions plans is very important.