What Is Consulting?

Consultation is something that has been on my mind lately.  How does this “less-tangible,” value-add service we bring to the table present itself, and how can it be explained to those not familiar with the term? It’s intriguing to me, and I sense others may feel the same way.

What Is Consulting?                                                                                      

“Consulting is the process of helping clients solve their most pressing business problems or issues.”

– Deloitte                                                                           

How Does This Translate to Day-to-Day Client Interactions?                                                                      

Here is an example of a coaching/consulting conversation that I recently had with a mid/upper management client:

A director asked the question, “What do you think? How should I start the meeting this afternoon?”

As consultants, we provide guidance based on our organization’s and associates’ experience to improve communication within the client’s organization.  As leaders provide what they think are clear, easily understood directions to their personnel or groups, we observe these leaders noting how their directions are being misinterpreted or misunderstood. Watching these interactions while being a third-party participant, we can offer a clearer direction on a situation to help the leader more effectively communicate with their personnel or group.    

During this observation, we are able to intervene and utilize three-way communication by asking questions such as, “We hear you directing someone to take these actions. Is that correct?” or “We hear <leader> asking you to please take these actions. <leader> is that accurate?” Suppose the answers to those questions indicate a disconnect in communication. In that case, it can often be resolved simply by bringing the two parties together again and guiding them in a quick, professional, yet to-the-point conversation. Often, this simple intervention is all that’s needed to remedy these anecdotal, tactical communication problems. 

This is just one way to explain a consultant as a value-added service.

For more information on consulting and program/project management services, contact Solutions Delivery Group at Mesa Associates, Inc. 

(written by Eli Schott)