Last week we looked at the various warning signs of organizations and businesses in dire need of a fresh perspective outside the company. When organizations have utilized every available resource in their toolkit and still see bottom lines plummeting, it could signal it’s time to bring in a business coach, consultant, or facilitator.
For many businesses, hiring a business coach or team development facilitator is a daunting, downright frightening task. They often view hiring an outside coach as an expensive, risky move with fears of nothing to show for their investment.
But when it is time to facilitate change and strategically improve culture, re-engage disengaged employees, streamline processes, and develop collaboration between C-suite executives, managers, and front line employees, a business coach is often the key.
In order to reduce “outsider” anxiety and make the on-boarding of a consultant a positive experience for all, look for these qualities and attributes in a consultant. It could mean the difference between a disappointing or mediocre experience to realizing measurable, sustainable results delivered in a timely manner.
- Expertise and Experience in your industry. These consultants are a good business fit as they understand the challenges and issues unique to your marketplace and work culture. They have been down in the trenches with similar businesses and know what will work and what doesn’t. Consultants with expertise in niche industries bring a wealth of innovative ideas and proven track records.
- Listening Skills – Is the consultant truly listening to your needs and pain points? A good facilitator must be able to understand where you are coming from. In order to do that they must be proactive listeners. Having them reiterate your issues also ensures you are on the same page. An outstanding consultant is adept at picking up on nuances and getting to the heart of issues quickly.
- Empathetic and Objective – Make sure the business coach or consultant cares about your organization and is 100% invested in your success. Self serving consultants hiding behind a guise of staunch professionalism seldom involve themselves on emotional level or get down in the trenches. Good business coaches are also an objective outside professional. They are removed from office politics so results are achieved quicker and benefit the company as a whole.
- Offer Research Based Resources and Tools – Researched-based resources and tools take the guesswork out of deliverable outcomes. These tools are measurable, tested, proven, and successful in the workplace. Consultants with research based tools provide a level of reassurance for organizations contemplating opening their coffers to an outside source. Organizations should look for endorsements, validation studies, case studies, and proven track records.
- Ongoing Support and Education Resources follows closely on the heels on the previous bullet point. Consultants and business coaches that provide ongoing support and education after the initial facilitation keep a company moving forward. The availability of resources or community of like-minded professionals allows internal trainers and leaders to problem solve long after the consultant has completed his task. Ongoing support also allows the company to become self-sufficient and come up with fresh, innovative ideas. Beware of the consultant that keeps an organization dependent on him.
- Track Record of Success – What is the success rate of the consultant with other organizations? What are their measurable results, implementation times, and techniques? A proven track record reduces the anxiety an organization can experience when selecting an effective consultant. A highly successful consultant will also have a strong network of peers. They can refer high quality vendors and partners to the organization to keep it moving forward.
- Instill Accountability Within the Organization – A great business coach will hold leaders and key personnel accountable for milestones. They empower the organization to overcome obstacles, seek solutions, and redefine processes in measurable, scalable timelines. A good consultant will hold leaders accountable for initiating change and bringing employees onboard to champion the new initiatives.
Following these 7 tips can reduce the anxiety of hiring a consultant and ensure a successful collaboration to engage employees, significantly improve the business culture dynamic, and streamline laborious processes. Drawing on the experience and expertise of a consulting professional can put an organization back on the right track with proven resources they can refer to time and again. Don’t invite an “outsider” into the organization. Instead, welcome an experienced professional who understands the organization’s unique needs, builds accountability, and works side by side with executives and employees alike.
Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Dianne Crampton
Dianne Crampton is the Founder of TIGERS Success Series. She is the leader in building successful quality-focused and cooperative team culture communities. As a thought leader in the team culture movement, she has been published by Barrett Koehler, Pfeiffer (an in print of John Wiley & Sons) and Three Creeks. Her latest work, TIGERS Among Us: Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive has received international acclaim. Nominated by Merrill Lynch for Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for a team culture change system that helps leaders bring about desired team culture change remarkably fast, she certifies and licenses consultants, facilitators, and HR leader to use the proven TIGERS team culture system within their organization with measurable success. TIGERS helps leaders build and improve trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk, and success in teams which results in a dynamic work environment that attracts and retains very talented, quality-focused people. Subscribe today to receive instant access to Dianne’s general membership where like-minded professionals discover valuable resources for team, leadership, and cooperative work environment development that grow organizations in a scalable and measured way.