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.
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.
Your clients are not simply buyers representing an organization. They are people first who...
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.
The next logical question is how then do leaders grow from "power over" leadership into "power with and within" leadership.
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.
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.
There are two kinds of power: Power Over and Power With and Within.
"Power Over" leadership is:
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...
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?
Unable to quantify our value.
This is what I want to start to unpack for you in this article.
To do this, I have to first expose the myths.
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...
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.
If you really want to make money and a difference as a consultant or coach, you can't get there by being nice.
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...
As a business mentor, I obviously get asked all the time, "How do you start your own business?"
But the question I WISH I was asked all the time is, "How do you start the RIGHT business?"
Now that's a question! Sure, you need to know the smart and strategic steps to transition from corporate leadership to business ownership. But why settle for just a successful business when you can have a business that also delivers significance, purpose and meaning to your own life and the world?
Related: The Five Steps to a Business Launch
It takes literally the same amount of money, time and effort to build an off-purpose business as an on-purpose one. So, don't limit what is possible for you.
Use my questions to help you start the RIGHT business, for the RIGHT reasons...in the RIGHT way.
Below are 20 smart questions that you should ask yourself to ensure that you have a business that you and your future clients will love.
As a mentor who helps people turn their life work into their own businesses, I meet a lot of highly trained and experienced professionals with both vision...and fear.
Their vision is that they want to take control over their career and use their time and talents towards building their own bottom line instead of someone else's. Because they have already achieved success - they are looking now for significance.
The challenge with fear is that is not that it's there. Its presence is actually a good thing. It's a sign that of growth and opportunity. It's fear unacknowledged or ineffectively addressed that messes with success.
Because fear in those situations gets passive aggressive and puts on disguises that seriously mess with success. Fear can look like integrity with claims that "I don't want to come across like a slick, used car...
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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