Making the choice to invest in consulting sessions with an experienced coach marks a key step in your consulting career path. Not only do you trust this professional to guide you, but you will also learn a lot about optimising your abilities and demonstrating your skills and strengths as a professional consultant.
So just what should you consider when choosing a consulting coach?
I have come across several resources, generic lists and guidelines which offer advice on what to look for when choosing a consulting coach. However, while these lists provided good deliberation points, they address significantly very little about the fundamental value you should be benefitting from these consulting sessions.
A few of the most common points and guidelines to consider when choosing a consulting coach include:
- Work with an experienced, qualified/mentor and coach
- Case interview preparation services with actionable feedback
- Track and assess your performance progress
Now while these guidelines offer you the basic preparedness points, it does not tell you what you should expect to take away from the sessions with the right consulting coach. Therefore, let us take a more in-depth look at what value you can expect from choosing the right coach.
Knowledge vs Skill
The right consulting coach will not direct your attention to what everyone else knows. The role of a consultant is to resolve problems and provide answers or propose recommendations to the business-related question the client is asking. How to solve the problem is something that is taught in academia which includes solving the problem using any one of the many prepackaged exemplars.
The right coach will instruct you on how to utilise your knowledge and skill to deliver client-driven solutions. While exemplars constitute the foundation of problem-solving, knowing how to offer client-driven solutions through constructing your own exemplar, based on the customer’s needs, remains the main unique way to stand out.
While tracking your performance is a service most coaches offer, it does not offer the self-assessment questions you will be asking yourself. Am I prepared? Will I be equipped? Select a consulting coach that will assess your performance after every case practice. Written performance reports, goal-specific feedback, and a scoring system will all offer you goal-specific advice on the key performance areas, and how best to focus your planning efforts. A written report will allow you to continuously assess your performance and enable you to focus your attention where it is needed.
Real vs Academic
The internet is replete with resources that offer you all the information, videos, and guidelines that explain to you all the tricks and secrets to acing the case interview. However, what you learn in theory vs the realistic practical experience can be significantly different. In theory, you comprehend what to expect therefore when something does not go according to plan, it can leave you feeling unprepared.
Therefore, it is important when you come to choose a consulting coach that you take the time to research and fully comprehend what to expect from your coaching sessions.