If you want to start or grow a profitable consulting and coaching business you need systems and processes to consistently attract, impress and convert a steady stream of ideal clients and deliver exceptional results once you land them.
To experience greater significance, isn't about doing different tasks but going about those same tasks with new eyes.
The perceptive eyes you need to cultivate includes reverence for your client's work and for your own. It's coming to a place of understanding and respect for the complexity that leaders manage when trying to guide human beings to work together. It's seeing your role beyond an "order taker" or "extra pair of hands" and owning your place as an essential strategic partner.
Here's 10 ways to perceive the significance of your role and why consultants and coaches matter.
A consultant isn't someone who works for an organization but isn't on the full-time payroll. We aren't subcontractors. We are advisors who come along leaders to help them make better decisions for themselves and for the realm that they are in charge of.
This one if my favorite because many consultants and coaches are helper types. We want to save the world. But in order for us to do our work well, our clients have to own their growth. Our clients have to bring the energy for their own change that we can support. This perspective is what will keep us in the game over the long-term as we need boundaries to protect our energy and compassion.
Clients define the "What." We bring the "How." This is the essence of a value-driven partnership where 1 + 1 = 64. We have to stay in our lanes which is framing up a client's issues and challenges that get in the way of them achieving the goals that THEY DEFINE, giving them the roadmap to THEIR DESIRED OUTCOME and then supporting them as THEY implement the solution.
Related: Consulting vs. Leading
We can't do a client's work for them as it is not us who has been given the responsibility for the health and well-being of the realm that they are in charge of. It's them. If we step over the line, we would be like marriage counselors who instead of helping a husband romance his wife better, takes her on a date himself. It's not our job to lead our client's teams. It's theirs.
A client isn't the one who is responsible for leveraging our expertise and thought leadership in the ways that we want them to. It's ours. We have to step up and proactively advocate what a client needs to do to achieve the outcomes that want and for our role and contribution towards the achievement of that outcome.
You have a consulting and coaching brand whether you do formal branding work or not. The question is whether or not it's an authentic one that showcases the value working with you creates. You can position yourself as a transactional consultant or coach who sells services or you can position yourself as an expert who can ignite a much larger transformation. If you want to be seen as a sought-after expert, you have to invest time and money in your brand clarity, website quality and content creation.
When it is all said and done, you are the instrument of change. Not your methodologies. Not your hard and fast beliefs around what a coach is and what a coach is not. It's you. Coaching, training, strategy, process improvement are all tactics that we use but it's not the essence of what we offer. It's us. Our strengths, quirks, personality and everything else that makes us unique that we offer. It's our energy that attracts (or repels) potential clients.
Therefore, leaders, consultants and coaches need to approach their work from a mindset of "going slow to go fast." What going slow means is getting outside of the survival brain's fear of short-term profits and results and dialing into the heart and mind to figure out sustainable solutions that will create both long-term and immediate results - without sacrificing either.
Personal power is when the amount of action that is taken matches the amount of contemplation that is taken beforehand. Therefore, if we want to create the type of power in organizations that serve the system, we have to go first and "go slow to go fast" so we an influence our clients to do the same.
As hard as it can be at times, we have to care...but not too much. We have to keep in mind, especially when a client makes decisions that make zero sense to us that it's not our monkeys, not our circus - it's theirs. They have to decide if they want more than what they are living or achieving. We are not responsible for their decisions either way.
You really don't want clients for life. Raving fans...yes. People who will refer you to others and give you glowing reviews for sure.
Your job is to approach your consulting and coaching in a way that you transfer essential knowledge and skills to your clients as you guide them in solving their own problems. You want them to internalize what you have modeled for them so that when faced with similar situations in the future, they will know what to do.
No matter that type of consultant or coach you are - if you work with organizations you have the opportunities to invite your clients into more. More for themselves and for the companies that they lead. Even if you're the one advising an organization about workflow software, you have the opportunity to help a client step back and think about why they want to automate their workflow. What that means in terms of scaling to the next level of growth and the type of work environment that they want to create.
Everything in organizations matters. Everything shapes work environments, culture, team experiences, job potential, career ladders, compensation, work/life balance and so much more.
If you want to achieve significance and success as a consultant and coach you have to see how important your work is and why it matters to so many more people than just you.
Every day I see consultants and coaches make crucial mistakes that cause them to be the world's "best kept secret" and leave money on the table.
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