BETSY'S BLOG

Actionable Tips & Inspiration to Help You Create Joy, Purpose & Meaning at Work

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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Is Your Client Taking Advantage of You?

There is a difference between a paying client and a strategic partner.

A paying client is someone who will sign on the dotted line and hire you to deliver your coaching or consulting services. 

A strategic partner is all together different. A strategic partner is peer who value all that you bring to the table and leverage your strengths to their fullest extent. 

Knowing the difference will dramatically change your impact, earning potential and long-term satisfaction. 

If we just wanted a paycheck, we'd stay employees. But we chose the path of consulting and coaching business ownership in part because of the control over our time and in part because we wanted to add significance to our success.

Related: How To Position Yourself as a Peer (and Stay Out of the Dreaded "Pair-Of-Hands" Trap)

Here's a few reasons to be on the lookout for as to why a client might hire you and pay you well while having zero intention of allowing you to influence them:

1. They...

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7 Traits that Make You Instantly Credible with Senior Leaders

You don’t need masters’ degree or unique certifications to break into corporate consulting or coaching. You also don’t need to become some marketing guru to land work with the C-Suite. Instead, if you want to start finding and landing executive advisory assignments with high-level leaders, you need to cultivate the following attributes that they find the most valuable.

  1. Business Acumen
  • Focuses applying expertise towards achievement of business outcomes (vs. implementing a methodology.)
  • Knows how the various functions of a business work and relate to each other.
  • Understands business drivers, challenges, competition, goals and strategies.
  • Speaks the language of business – financials, data and analytics.
  1. Political Savvy
  • Can recommend solutions that consider the realities of the formal and informal power networks.
  • Understands how the culture and power networks operate within the client system.
  • Able to build relationships for mutual benefit and win support...
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Consultants and Coaches vs. Subcontractors

A couple of days ago I wrote an article that differentiates between consultants and coaches and the respective business models. 

I realized that I was remiss in pointing out one business model that both might choose: becoming a subcontractor.

Quick Recap on the Difference Between Consultants and Coaches

Consultants and coaches are both executive advisors. The difference between the two is the way that they advise their clients. 

Consultants are more focused on enhancing leadership and organizational capacity whereas coaches are more focused on the leaders themselves and helping them improve their personal and leadership effectiveness.

A consulting business is a "business to business" (BTB) model where you get paid to improve an organization's results. A coaching business is a "business to consumer" (BTC business) where you get paid to improve an individual's results. 

What is a Subcontractor?

A subcontractor is a self-employed consultant or coach...

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Consulting vs. Coaching

The two most popular paths high achievers take when they leave corporate is to either start their own consulting business or start their own coaching business. In this blog post I want to help you understand the difference between the two so that you can you know which one is right for you AND set yourself up for success.

The Difference Between the Role of a Consultant and a Coach

Consultants and coaches are both executive advisors. The difference between the two is the way that they advise their clients. 

As a consultant - your role is to enhance leadership and organizational capacity. You help your clients by providing an independent point of view on the root causes to organizational challenges, recommending solutions to resolve those challenges and facilitating leaders to come to agreement on how to they will work together to implement those solutions.

Consultants are not leaders in that they are not accountable for the implementation of solutions. They may support...

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The Little Known Strategy for Becoming an Executive Advisor

Almost all the consultants and coaches that I mentor want to become an executive advisor. For some this means that they want to work with more senior leaders in larger companies. For others this means that they want all of their revenue to come from their ability to give expert advice to executives. For others they simply want to increase the value of their contracts and reduce labor intensity by offering more executive sounding board type services.

While these goals make sense - they are missing the heart of what it really means to be an executive advisor and what it takes to succeed in this sacred and noble role.

An executive advisor at its core is someone who speaks truth to power so that those in charge make decisions that benefit the realm.

The relationship between the Sovereign and his/her Advisors is an ancient one - one that is documented in both the Bible and in ancient myths. It's the story of Samuel and David, Merlin and King Arthur and Rafiki and Simba. ...

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How to Uncover the Root Cause of Poor Performance

The most common go-to solution for any performance gap is to throw training at it. The truth is, while training is often necessary, it is NEVER sufficient. To move the needle on performance, you have to isolate the root cause to what is getting in the way.

These questions are designed to help you get to the root of individual performance problems – which may or not not require training to solve (and help you extend the value of your leadership training contracts.)

STEP 1: UNDERSTAND PERFORMANCE GAPS 

Task/Responsibility performed poorly

  • What is the required performance?
  • Who is responsible for performing this task?
  • Where and when does the problem appear?
  • What impact does it have?
  • What is the difference between good and poor performance?
  • What has been done to solve the problem?
STEP 2: DO A ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS

Knowledge and Skill

  • Did they ever perform the task properly?
  • Is the task performed often enough to ensure retention?
  • Do they know the task is skill expected of...
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5 Essential Competencies for Executive Leadership

It’s a common career trajectory: An employee becomes a front-line supervisor, then a manager, then a leader of leaders and then eventually an executive over a department or an even broader entity.  From that perspective, leadership is leadership and executives merely have a larger scope and span of control.

Despite common perception - executives are not simply managers with a broader scope and span of control. It's a new job with a whole new set of behaviors which weren't drawn on previously. 

If you're a consultant to executives (or have aspirations towards this end) you need to fully appreciate the unique competencies (attitudes, attributes and behaviors essential for a role) they need to possess to be successful so that you can:

  • Connect with executives with an understanding of what they are responsible for
  • Assess executive performance
  • Develop effective executive development and coaching solutions

In this article I'll introduce you to five essential...

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