Having just returned from a Trainer Training in London a month ago, I thought it a good idea to answer one of the questions that I was asked by enough people to make it worthwhile to write about here.

The question I've been asked is, "What makes a successful consultant?" Well, I've taken this question and expanded it sideways to include "trainer, teacher, manager, etc." and expanded it upwards to include 'entrepreneur, etc." because to me, whatever it is you're doing professionally, it helps to put yourself in the position, or role, of "consultant" at certain times, places and other contexts.

Based on my experience with many different people across many different professions, the ones that are the most successful have or do the following things:

They are driven - not just ambitious - driven by their passions, their abilities, their purpose. They know themselves so well that they do not need to explain themselves to others. Their behavior "says" it all.

They are infectious - their above permeates a room, permeates all they meet, their environment. Some will call this charisma, others energy. Whatever you call it, know what it is because you have not only experienced it, but have it.

They are passionate about whatever it is they do, truly passionate. Even when they have the opportunity to "sell" something. They don't have to because their passion spills over onto the people listening and/or in their presence. And most people want to have success.

They know the following that I have been saying for years and years - "No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something". They know what they are good at, and they have built on that. They know what they are not good at and pass it up, or pass it along to someone else, when those opportunities come by. They know their niche and have developed their own "expertise" of it.

They are not afraid of hard work - as a matter of fact, it's not they are not afraid of it, they don't equate it with their passion - to them it's not work, it's their life; it's what they love doing. For years I've told people: "Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life." And at the same time, working 24/7 is part of it for them. This does not mean that they don't make time away from their "career", but there is always that one small wheel clicking away in the back of their mind that keeps them on track.

They know that making mistakes is part of making decisions. They don't expect perfection, but they do expect optimization. At the same time, they also have high expectations for themselves, and for others, but they understand how to balance all these towards success.

They know how to say "I don't know" with confidence.
They are continuously learning - not just from seminars, books, tapes, etc., but from the experiences they are having. They are acute observers of their environment and can calibrate interventions well and the results of those interventions, whether theirs or someone else's, regardless of how subtle.

They have solid morals and values and their behavior is consistent. They do not waiver. They may change their minds, but only after very careful consideration of new information.

They keep things simple - their communication, their strategies, everything possible is kept simple, but not at the expense of wasting resources, more appropriately, they keep things precise.

They are honest and they understand dishonesty and are prepared for it. They have a healthy skepticism of the business environment in which they are operating and have the strategies to evaluate opportunities.

How many of the above do you honestly have and/or do? Happy Consulting, or whatever it is you do.

©2007 La Valle, all rights reserved in all media.

Author's Bio: 

John J. La Valle is a Licensed Master Trainer of NLP™ & DHE™*, who has been in the training & development field for almost twenty-five years and who has brought NLP™ and DHE™ into the business arena for the past 20+ years. He is the co-author, with Richard Bandler, of Persuasion Engineering®. John is also a member of The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming™, The American Society of Training & Development, and is certified with The National Values Center. In addition to Practitioner & Master Practitioner programs, John specializes in Sales & Influence, manufacturing applications, team building, management and leadership skills,and Design Human Engineering™*. His extensive background in socio-technical systems design, employee involvement and participative management systems has earned him a reputation for getting results in many Fortune 100 companies. His training style enables him to get right to core of the issues, where he well known for his ability to take seemingly complex issues and breaking them down into easily solvable opportunities for organizations.