Consultants borrow your watch, tell you the time and invoice you.
Coaches tell you how wonderful you are and how you can be or do anything through the Law of Attraction.
Mentors say “If I were you, I’d do it this way” – but they’re not you.
If an Advisor is so good, why don’t they do it themselves?
I’m sure you’ve heard some of these put-downs before – there might just be an element of truth there too. But clearly it’s not the whole story.
A while back, in response to being asked what I did at a networking event, I replied “I’m a management consultant”. I should have know better. Firstly it was not strictly true, but more importantly it evoked a hostile reaction: my interlocutor said something mildly insulting and walked off.
But there are plenty of positives that each of these management support roles bring:
Mentor: voice of experience
Coach: inspirer and motivator
Advisor: critical friend and sounding board
Consultant: analyst and thinker
Now my point is that however valuable each of these roles is, each is necessarily limited – each is necessary but not sufficient. What we really need today are people that can support management in all of these ways, and more. We need those that are well versed in the 2 fundamentals of any organisation: the Dynamics and the Mechanics.
My hunch is that the traditional forms of these services may have a sell-by date…
We need people that can engage at the operational level, but also influence the organisational dynamics: behaviours, culture, aspiration, mindsets etc. The intangibles, if you like. Only then can you deal with the issues as they present themselves, and the underlying root causes.