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8 Characteristics of great consultants. Do you have what it takes?

For anyone considering consulting as a career, the first consideration has to be what is consulting. Consulting involves providing expert advice and guidance to organizations to help them achieve efficiency and performance goals.

Consultants are professionals with theoretical and practical experience that makes them a useful resource to enterprises in need of their expertise. To be a successful consultant, one must be able to collaborate with their clients to assess and make recommendations that will lead to the transformative change needed to improve and achieve certain desired goals.

Characteristics of great consultants

1. Great consultants enhance decision making

When you consider how to be a great consultant, you have to figure out how to properly influence. Consultants do not typically have ultimate decision-making authority. However, through achieving consensus and buy-in, they can influence those with decision-making authority and other stakeholders to commit to solutions developed. To influence and gain trust, consultants need to provide factual and accurate information about the market and technological trends to demonstrate the merits of their opinion.

2. Great consultants provide a source of legitimacy

When looking at how to be a successful consultant, you must factor in academic knowledge and practical experience. These qualities make it possible to demonstrate expertise and legitimacy as an authority in your area of specialization. When you can proffer and diffuse the same solution to different clients, it should be as a result of proven success from the said solution.

However, one should not get stuck in a rut. A professional seeking how to be a better consultant must also be able to innovate by developing new solutions. Part of building and retaining reputation involves creating new solutions and standards that can be successfully deployed across various organizations.

3. Great consultants can detect & transfer useful experience from one industry to another 

Part of being innovative as a consultant lies in being able to not just devise new solutions, but also work out how to apply proven existing solutions to new industries. You should be able to draw on your experience to identify solutions that can be more broadly applied or tailored to other markets.

4. Great consultants help organizations implement new solutions

One of the key consulting skills required for great consultants is the ability to lower knowledge barriers. When introducing changes or new technology, consultants should be able to make it easy for their clients to adapt, adopt and make use of the technology. This simplification reduces resistance to change and makes it easier and faster for organizations to assimilate change.

5. Great consultants lack bias and prejudice

Unbiased assessment of how organizations work is a key strength for consultants. They should be able to separate themselves from any preconceived notions, feelings, or internal politics when arriving at solutions.

6. Great consultants are self-aware

Self-awareness is one of the underrated qualities of a good consultant. You should be able to recognize where your strengths and weaknesses lie to determine if you are the right fit for the job. You need to gain some introspection on your characteristics, behaviors, and feelings. This can also help where you may also be questioning, should I be a consultant?

7. Great consultants perceive ambiguous situations as desirable, challenging, and interesting

Taking up new challenges is part of the lure of consulting work. Those that pursue this career need to learn how they adapt the skills and knowledge they have acquired to help clients with varying problems.

8. Great consultants have an interest in people

One of the top tips for consultants is the need to be sociable. But you need to learn how to listen first before speaking. This will make you better able to understand client needs and wants. This can help build trust and ensure you develop solutions that match desired goals.


Being a successful consultant requires you to be able to steadily close new projects. This will ensure a good cash flow and financial reward from your work. Our online consulting marketplace can help you grow your network and keep the stream of projects coming. Being adaptable in a changing market will support your efforts. If you want to help businesses meet their goals and enjoy varied and challenging projects, then sign up with iAgility to get started today.

Posted by
Sajid Khan

Sajid Khan is the President at MicroAgility and has over three decades of management and consulting experience. He leads the efforts in many projects including operational improvements, cost reduction, and managing growth. Sajid strives to help others succeed and to create opportunities that are sustainable and uplifting for humanity — always guided by the virtues of hard work, quality, and kindness.

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