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10 Key Traits of Great Consultants

By Michael Zipursky

Some consultants attract more business and prestige than others. They are able to earn higher fees and produce greater results for their clients. Here are 10 key traits of what makes a great consultant...

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8 thoughts on “10 Key Traits of Great Consultants

  1. Hi Micheal, I have a topic for you and the community… what would you say is the difference between a Business Coach and a Business Consultant? You refer to the info graph being about consultants, but then the term “coach “is used in the info graph itself – do you believe these are interchangeable?
    Also, how many of you use the term coach or consultant to describe yourself? And why?
    This is an ongoing conversation among myself and some local business owners, and I would love to get feedback from this group!

    • Great question Erin. Many people misunderstand the difference between a consultant and coach. These days people throw around these words without experience to back them up.

      At a high level a consultant is providing strategic recommendations, conducting analysis and sometimes working with clients to help implement those recommendations.

      A coach on the other hand will engage the client by asking them questions so they can find the answers and come to their own conclusions. That being said however, I’ve found two camps of coaches.

      Those that will never provide a direct recommendation to a client. They will ask questions so the client finds their own answers.

      The other will give very specific and direct recommendations.

      My clients have seen the best results when coaching brings both of these to the table – asking a lot of questions, diving deep to find real answers and when required – offering specific recommendations.

      Hope that helps.

      • That helps a lot. I would love to hear what others have to say. I am finding my own clients calling me their business coach, when I strictly see myself as a consultant. It’s an interesting topic, as the coaching thing is relatively new and somewhat self defining.
        I appreciate your thoughts and all you do for this community Michael!!

        • You’re welcome Erin! I appreciate YOU.

          Many consultants naturally transition into offering coaching services. It’s important to have the right structure and pricing in place when you do so.

  2. By the way, did you know that #9 and #10 are the same? Is this by design? I love this info graph, by the way!! How refreshing to see that I already posses all 10 (or is it really 9?) traits. 🙂

  3. Onyekachi says:

    I feel something is missing. Most often consultants focus on their clients too much to the detriment of their own businesses. So, I strongly believe (from experience) that one other important trait of a great consultant is building a strong practice and involvement in developing junior consultants. I see most consultants failing woefully in this aspect. We can’t be great physicians without being healthy ourselves.

    • I agree it’s important to take care of your health and balance hard work through creating an amazing lifestyle. Not all consultants however want to build a consulting firm with staff and other consultants.

      Regardless of whether a consultant wants to add staff or not, having a structure, system and process in place that creates leverage and allows you to scale your business is critical.

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