A Difference in Kind

I was offering a session to prepare people in local markets in South Asia for global ‘prime-time’ in the consulting arena. Our session was to teach them about many of the precepts Alan and I write about in “The Global Consultant”.

Some were concerned at the price indicating they had heard of a cheaper workshop in Hong Kong that taught coaching skills, offered certification and support.

I was a bit mystified at why that was even relevant to share.

So someone creates their own curriculum, then certifies people in it, and makes a virtue out of that fact? Those attracted by it clearly aren’t able or willing to create their own brand, but want legitimacy by association. And what does “support” mean? We were offering  follow-up mentoring and coaching via phone and email for six months , relative to applying the field-tested concepts that will be taught.

I cannot understand either how someone could compare a session taught by a global consultant with six international offices, four books, 30 articles, 17 years of experience, and some of the world’s leading companies as clients, a session about creating a brand, selling across borders, creating presence despite distance, reducing labor intensity, building rapport with top-level economic buyers, delivering a real ROI from every interaction, improving vitality and effectiveness, and much more with a ‘coaching certification’?

And not to be arrogant, if that’s truly what they wanted, surely they realize these are two different undertakings with two different aims? There is a difference in kind here.

This is relevant only to highlight the real need in consulting. Clients often make specious assumptions because they’re too close to a problem. Or they may be inadvertently clinging to an unchallenged paradigm.  This respondent was making some embedded assumptions about the source of  ‘value’, which interfered with their ability to understand something on its own merits.

Our job as success coaches and trusted advisers is to get our clients to dig deeper than surface similarities and appearances, to shake up ossified assumptions, and make sure skim milk isn’t masquerading as cream…in their businesses or lives.

When we evaluate things, let’s do it on the basis of 1)  the outcomes we are after, 2)  the relevance of what is being offered to those outcomes,  3) the integrity and credibility of each offer relative to the outcomes in question  and 4) the clarity of game-plan each option lays out relative to gaining the desired benefits. That way, a ‘train the trainer’ course won’t be confused with a ‘coaching certification’ won’t be conflated with a ‘master class on building a global consulting practice’.

More critically, by honing this faculty, you’ll help your clients make better choices. You’ll dissipate the fog of encroaching confusion and shine a spotlight of illuminating clarity and incisive insight in helping them define and move towards the outcomes they want.

They couldn’t ask for more from you.

And if you provide it, you won’t have to ask for more business from them — it’ll come naturally and abundantly your way.