5 Ways Playing Small is Sabotaging Your Consulting Success

4 - mindset mastery Mar 09, 2020

"Playing small" is making choices that put a lid on your true potential. It's the part of you that wants to protect your comfort, security and validation in the short-term at the expense of what is possible in the long-term.

These feelings are particularly acute for both new and seasoned consulting and coaching business owners which in comparison to other business owners, growing to the next level is personal because your business is based on you. Your ideas. Your expertise. 

It's hard for everyone to step outside their comfort zone, but for you, it can be excruciating because it can feel that not just the business is at risk but everything you have worked so hard to achieve will come crashing down.

You're probably very well aware of the impact that playing small is having on your self-esteem and business results. You're not getting your website copy done, under-charging your clients, and taking work that makes you feel more like an employee vs. an advisor. 

Let...

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Want more consulting clients? Here's how to find them.

Do you want more consulting clients? Of course you do.

Let me tell you one way that you're NOT going to get them: trying to be everything to everybody.

I know you have a lot of things you're great at and you don't want to have to choose between all the ways you can help your clients.

But here's the deal - you don't have to and you actually shouldn't.

A clear consulting brand and niche is not about picking a favorite methodology and getting known for that. In fact, that's a recipe for failure over the long-term as this approach will guarantee your market positioning as an "extra pair of hands" and "trading time for money" commodity.

A clear consulting brand and niche is about dialing into the client that is ideal for YOU. It's that client that you deeply care about helping that also wants and needs your ideas and approach to consulting. It's about filling your pipeline with the type of clients that you LOVE working with and who LOVE working with you (and...

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5 Shifts to Instantly Increase Your Consulting Success and Impact

The cold, hard facts about the consulting profession is that most change efforts fail. The failure has little to do with the quality of our project plans or recommended message points. Failure has everything do with ineffective change leadership at the top.

It's for this reason, the number predictor of the sustainability and impact of our work is the commitment of the leader that we are supporting, who is ultimately responsible for the change's success.

Related: The Little Known Strategy for Becoming an Executive Advisor

If you want to make a greater difference with your consulting, it begins with shifting your perspective on what your role is ultimately about. It's not about delivering a methodology. It's about supporting a leader through what are often their defining moments.

And Then Make These 5 Shifts

1. The focus of your service isn't a company; it's a leader within a company.

Your clients are not simply buyers representing an organization. They are people first who...

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Stages of Power in Leadership and Organizations

The other day I wrote an article on the difference between power over and power with/within leadership approaches. In a nutshell "power over" leadership is all about control and dominance and finding one's source of power from a position, titles, salary, etc. vs. "power with and with" leadership which is all about mutuality and cooperation and finding one's source of power from inside one's own wisdom, self-esteem and humility. 

 (If you missed the article, click here to read it.)

The next logical question is how then do leaders grow from "power over" leadership into "power with and within" leadership. 

The Four Stages of Power in Leadership and Organizations

To fully understand and appreciate that the differences between the two approaches to power isn't about style or personality. It's about maturity and the values that show up in different stages of a leader's growth journey. There are four stages of power in leadership and organizations.

  • Stage 1:...
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What You Should Know About Power, Leadership and Consulting

At the end of the day, executive leadership is about power.

The quality of an executive isn't defined by whether or not they take the time to get to walk their areas and get to know their employees personally. The quality of a leader also isn't defined by how motivational their speeches are or how shrewd their policies are or how fast they can deliver results.

Instead, the quality of an executive is defined by where they get their power and if they use the power that they hold to make decisions that benefit the entire realm that they are in charge of: employees, customers and shareholders.  

Related: Five Essential Competencies for Executive Leadership

The Two Kinds of Power

There are two kinds of power: Power Over and Power With and Within.  

"Power Over" leadership is:

  • All about control and dominance.
  • The source of power is outside oneself in position, titles, budget, etc.
  • The use of power is all about control - through having more of it than others...
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The Business Empath's Guide to Consulting & Coaching

Do you feel overwhelmed by the issues and challenges your clients are experiencing? Do unhealthy work environments and power-over leadership practices burn you out and drain you?

If so, you might be an empath. An empath is someone with an extremely reactive neurological system which causes them to absorb both the positive and stressful energies around them. 

I'm an Empath.

I didn't realize I was an empath for a long time. I started to suspect that I was when I was presenting some difficult feedback to a client about their sales practices. I had sat with over 100 focus group participants and heard story after story about the impact of the company's unethical sales practices on their lives. And I was heartbroken when the client disregarded the feedback. 

Being an empath in a profession like ours, where you see the underbelly of organizations and leaders, can be hard. You have a superpower because of how well you understand the hearts and minds of everyone in your client...

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How to Confidently Articulate the Value of What You Do

Over the years there has been one particular roadblock that I watch both new and experienced consultants and coaches hit time and time again.  The truth is, I hit the same roadblock when I first started.

We all know we have tremendous value to offer our clients.

We can see the transformation that’s waiting for them….

…But when it comes time to put that value into words and communicate it to those same clients?

We freeze.

Unable to quantify our value.

This is what I want to start to unpack for you in this article.

Three Myths About Your Consulting and Coaching Value

To do this, I have to first expose the myths.

1. What you do isn't the same as your methodologies or tools.

Your value isn't found in your tools. It's in how you use your tools that matters.

A carpenter may have a hammer, screwdriver and drill and perhaps the best ones on the market. But as a customer we don't care about his tools. We care about how what he does with those tools to build something...

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10 Ways To Making Money And A Difference as a Consultant & Coach (Number 2 Is My Favorite)

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.

Related: How to Position Yourself as a Peer (and Stay out of the Dreaded "Pair of Hands" Trap)

Here's 10 ways to perceive the significance of your role and why consultants and coaches matter. 

1. Consultants and coaches exist to enhance leadership...

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Nice Consultants and Coaches vs. Good Ones

If you really want to make money and a difference as a consultant or coach, you can't get there by being nice.

You have to be good.

Nice on the surface appears more ethical and in alignment with one's integrity. A "nice" consultant or coach delivers what a client asks for. Doesn't get too aggressive with their marketing. And certainly doesn't push a client to pay them what they are worth.

But in reality - nice isn't nice. Being nice keeps feathers from being ruffled and maintains a surface experience of pleasantness while hiding or minimizing the real issues that are begging for transformation and the real reason why consultants and coaches exist.

Our profession isn't a new one. It's an old one. The office of an executive advisor was created thousands of years ago, at the same time the office of the king was established. In ancient stories, myths and spiritual traditions, the King always had a Prophet, Mentor, Magician, Guide or Jester that spoke truth to power. And helped the King...

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What is a Brand and Why Do You Need One?

You can look at building a consulting and coaching practice in one of two ways. You can think of yourself as a freelancer who simply is always on the lookout for the next job. Or you can think of yourself as a brand that attracts right fit clients for years to come. If you want a practice that consistently generates exceptional results then you, like all great companies, need to invest in building a strong brand.

What is a Brand?

Many people think a brand is nothing more than a logo. Or a trademark. Or that pithy tagline. The reality is that branding is all of those things and so much more. A brand in general is the promise you make to your future clients that you consistently deliver on. Your brand promise contains both the tangible and intangible value you create as well as the emotional connection they will experience when working with you.

Why Consultants and Coaches Need a Brand

There are five reasons why it is worth investing your time, money and vulnerability into brand...

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