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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20 Questions to Help You Uncover Your Client's TRUE Culture and Politics

To win business and deliver results - all consultants MUST cultivate their political savvy. While we may think that executives hire consultants for economic reasons - the reality is that more often that not, we're brought in for political reasons. 

Politics is not necessarily a bad thing. Politics gets its bad rap when leaders operate out of self-interest versus the best interest of others. Then ego issues such as who has more power, competition for resources and unhealthy conflicts raise their ugly heads. Good politics benefits the organization because it helps with providing checks and balances.

Here's 20 questions to help you uncover your client's true culture and politics (and I promise you - it's not what's posted on the organizational chart or the values hanging in the break room!)

DEFINING THE REAL CORPORATE CULTURE
  • What are the stated values? Are they what the company lives by?
  • Who are the organizations heroes? Why?
  • Who are the scapegoats? Why?
  • Who gets the...
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#5: What Everybody Ought to Know About The 3 Types of Organizational Change

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When it comes to consulting to change, your first task it to identify what kind of change your client is embarking on. There are actually three types of change, requiring different types of change leadership and consulting support. To ensure that your client's change doesn't become another dreaded "flavor of the month," you need to provide them the right tools that are relevant for the type of change they are considering.

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast:

In this podcast from my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I will help you distinguish between the three types of change. Armed with this insight you will be able to:

  • Create more relevant and customized change solutions for your clients
  • Develop comprehensive plans to empower your clients to achieve both immediate and long-term results
  • Set a realistic and workable pace for change
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#6: What Everybody Ought to Know About the 4 Types of Change Agents

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Change isn't optional but growth is. This is where change agents fit in. They are the ones who ensure that when the marketplace fluctuates and the organization gets larger, the company matures and gets better along the way. 

Change agents are those who formally or informally lead change in an organization. The title is reserved for those who see a better world AND must be a part of leading others towards that better world. 

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast:

In this podcast from my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I will introduce you to the four types of change agents. When you understand the different roles these change agents play in their common purpose of creating growth in the organization you will be better equipped to:

  • Better enroll key stakeholders in the work you know your client needs to embark on
  • Articulate the value-add contribution you offer a consultant
  • Create project...
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#7: How to Lead Change without Authority

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One of the biggest transitions consultants go through is figuring out how to help their clients with massive change projects without positional authority. They may see what needs to be done but they don't have the ability to simply direct others towards achieving those outcomes. 

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast:

In this podcast from my series Consulting Matters: Mastering the Art and Science of the Business, I am going to show you the secrets of leading change without authority which is clearly understanding and owning your role. You see, a consultant is not a leader. A consultant is one who helps a leader by framing the problems that the leader is accountable for solving. Consultants frame the challenges and help provide a roadmap for resolution of challenges. Leaders oversee the implementation of solutions and ensure sustainability.

Where You Might Get Stuck:

The first key of being an effective consultant is learning how...

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