ATD Blog

Top 5 Consulting Skills Trainers Should Learn

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Recently I was asked by a client if internal HR and training business partners would benefit from consulting skills training if they weren’t going to interact with clients. It’s a question I get asked a lot, so my response is worth sharing with a larger audience. I consider anyone we serve, whether internally or externally, a potential client. Therefore, my answer is absolutely.

Here are the top five consulting skills that your HR and training professionals will be able to use in their daily work.

  1. The key to successful business relationships is learning to listen and understand need. The best consultants don’t need to push their own agendas; rather, they listen and seek to understand the need with genuine curiosity. This also establishes trust.

  1. Good problem solving through effective questioning is essential in any role. The ability to probe thoughtfully as a means of seeking agreement with the client on the best solution is a critical skill for a consultant.

  1. A great consultant will not try to reinvent the wheel, but build on work that has already been started through conducting interviews and analyzing existing data. Ensuring that solutions match the specific group requires the consultant to do their homework.
  1. Too often I find that organizations have spent money on consulting solutions that sit on a shelf, unused. Solutions must be designed and implemented in a way that ensures they stick.

  1. Finally, knowing how to properly disengage and close out an effort is critical. Consultants must be able to understand what success looks like and align with the client group to ensure that milestones have been achieved. Ending an effort allows for successful achievement of requirements, as well as the ability for resources to move into other improvement areas.

Anyone in a service role can benefit from building consulting skills. There are very few roles in today’s markets that don’t require understanding needs and developing solutions to meet those needs. Ensuring that your teams are prepared to be true consulting partners rather than order takers shifts the role of the HR and training business partners in a way that benefits the entire organization.
Be sure to check out the list of ATD’s upcoming Consulting Skills Certificate offerings. I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming course!

About the Author

As an organizational development, leadership, human capital and project management expert with 20 years of experience in high end consulting, Jennifer loves to work with organizations that want more, are willing to take risks and even step on the ledge a bit in order to push change and innovation that align strategy with  performance to produce positive business results.  As CEO of Emergent Performance Solutions, she brings her entrepreneurial spirit balanced with years of practical experience; in order to provide opportunities that are fun, exciting and highly productive.  She coaches, teaches and consults with government and industry leaders to create high performance environments that directly impact the mission of the change culture and the bottom line.  She shares in the thought leadership community through speaking at conferences, publishing works and engaging the community.  She has a notable reputation for innovation, creativity and reliability as well as her dynamic ability to fully engage her audiences through competence and humor.

1 Comment
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At first I thought the 1., 1., 1., 1., 1. notation for each of Jennifer's 5 Consulting Tips was simply a typo demonstrating inexperienced editing. Then I thought, 'no', each of the 5 are number one in professional HR. Leave out any one and the others are weakened.
Next time however possibly some how to's, for each which will make the article more substantive and less a tease for classes on consulting. At a minimum read the classic Performance Consulting: by DG.JC Robinson. Then try it!
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