Whether you’re a consultant in the traditional sense of the word or are simply in the role where your opinion is sought after, there are three skills, according to Peter Block of Flawless Consulting fame, that you need to have to be successful.
It is important that you possess the technical skills i.e. the expertise in a particular field to make your opinion of interest to others. This ideally goes beyond what you may have been taught in school and should include actual experience in your chosen field. In the information technology industry this expertise can become obsolete very quickly so it is important to continually hone your skills.
This shouldn’t be confused with programming or hardware skills. Instead, the term technical in this context means a certain level of experience and understanding of a particular topic.
A critical aspect of being a consultant is working with people. And that’s where interpersonal skills come in. You need some ability to put your ideas in to words, to listen to others, and to provide support. You also need to be able to disagree and to suggest ideas counter to what your client may be proposing.
This may sound odd given the topic of this post, but a consultant needs consulting skills. There is a sequential process to consulting that you need to follow to get from start to finish. Executing this process isn’t necessarily easy hence the reason that it is called a skill in Peter’s book. This process puts you in a role that is very similar to an IT project manager.