Consultants as Mentors?

Working in any industry, you encounter people with various backgrounds and degrees with little or no knowledge of the business. You run into the young graduate who just entered the workforce, the established employee who is set to retire or the ambitious employee who is thirsty for more knowledge. In a hustle and flow environment, where do you find time to encourage your employees to master their skills, prepare them for management level or assist in adapting to a new environment when the industry changes around them?

Consultants continuously walk into organizations where change is in the midst, an established business is not working as efficiently as it could, or an open position needs an interim replacement. We observe as an outside party and want to help to create efficiency, structure and indicate where we identify the gaps, but we also know we are there for a specific task.  During engagements, it isn’t uncommon to form relationships with the company staff – listening to their concerns, providing limited feedback if necessary and amusing the ones that just want to complain, even when there isn’t anything to complain about.  Many times, we are perceived as a wealth of knowledge – a golden ticket to show them what they want to learn or to help do some of the work no one else has time for.  When we as consultants have the time to share that knowledge and mentor the existing client staff, success is exponential.

In a recent article with Fortune.Com, CEO and Co-founder of AirBNB, Brian Chesky, explains “you’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So the question is, how mature are the people you surround yourself with?  If you surround yourself with the right people, you can grow up pretty quickly.”  Imagine making a decision based on just your thoughts rather than thoughts that are inspired by interactions with insightful individuals or groups.  That could heavily impact a place of business, how you interact with staff, and your own psyche.

Consultants that have the skill of mentoring or coaching are able to provide more of a service to the client rather than just the task at hand. This type of consultant will flourish, as they build a rapport with the client which could allow future interaction together, providing knowledge transfer, understanding the client outside of the assigned task, and creates an abundance of new relationships.  Mentoring is a silent skill – some people have it and others don’t, which is perfectly fine.  Consultants are there to provide a service and this is just an added bonus during a client engagement.



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