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ATD Blog

Consulting on the Inside


Mon Apr 15 2013


Many people who once thought of themselves as “subject matter experts” are now asked to be internal consultants. Regardless of your field, being a consultant means “using expertise, influence, and  personal skills to facilitate a client-requested change without the formal authority to implement recommendations.” It’s not enough any more simply to offer advice or to implement policies. Being an internal consultant requires you to provide real value to the business or organization in which you live and work. In their book, Consulting on the Inside: A Practical Guide for Internal Consultants, Second Edition (ASTD, 2011), Beverly Scott and B. Kim Barnes discuss a set of internal consulting competencies.

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Take a few minutes and consider which of these competencies currently are part of your repertoire and which you may want to develop further.


The Eight Internal Consulting Competencies

1. Collaborates: Ensures that interpersonal relationships with clients, peers, and others in an organization are collaborative, healthy, and team based.

2. Establishes credibility: Holds high ethical standards and maintains integrity through professionalism, ethics, and contracting.

3. Takes initiative: Is assertive in taking a stand, delivering tough messages, and pushing for decisions and outcomes.

4. Maintains detachment: Is not only sufficiently aligned with the organization to find acceptance, but is also able to keep an external mindset to provide a more balanced perspective.


5. Markets the value of area of expertise: Helps clients and the organization to understand the value of the work the consultant delivers to them and the organization.

6. Demonstrates organizational savvy: Builds relationships with senior leadership and develops an extensive network of contacts at all levels.

7. Acts resourcefully: Takes advantage of windows of opportunity and most often functions with just-in-time-approach to client needs.

8. Understands the business: Thinks strategically and leverages support for critical strategic issues.

Listen to this podcast by Bev Scott and Kim Barnes Internal Consulting Podcast to learn more tactics for internal consulting.


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