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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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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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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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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#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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#16: Framing and Empathy (the Little Known Way to Establishing Consulting Credibility)

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In this week's podcast I want to share with you the one skill, literally the one skill that will transform your consulting practice and your positioning as a strategic business partner within the organization. This one skill - this is the one thing that you need to master to overcome resistance, establish credibility and build buy-in.

This skill isn't project management or writing a business plan.  I call it "Framing and Empathy" which is another way of describing how to create a connection with your client and give him or her the gift of being heard.

Why You Need to Listen To This Week's Podcast

You don't establish credibility with listing your credentials or name-dropping past clients. Instead, you leverage framing and empathy to demonstrate to your client that you get them. You get their challenges and you get why resolving them matters. Armed with this ability you have the platform and position to influence a client to take action on...

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The #1 Thing Your Client Doesn't Get About Employee Engagement

One of the best things about mentoring other consultants is the opportunity it gives me to reflect on what I do as a consultant and why.

This week our group was exploring the topic of gaining and retaining leadership buy-in and it caused me to stop and really think why this matters so much and it all boils down to this - 

The one thing that we all really want from others in order to trust them is confidence that when they make decisions they take into account what's in our best interest.

When I train consultants on the importance of doing an assessment and taking the time to deeply listen to stakeholders (whether they are executives, managers, employees or customers) it's not just about a consulting approach that generates revenue for them. It's about being a a conduit to help those people in the organization be heard and have a voice on issues that effect them. 

What most leaders (and even consultants) don't get about creating employee engagement is that it's not...

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