The Secret To Being A Great Consultant

What I’m about to share with you may be a blinding glimpse of the obvious, yet completely ignored by most coaches and consultants.

I’ve been coaching people for a long time. 12 years to be exact. And I can tell you that there’s a lot that goes into being a great coach. Knowledge Vs Know How

Here’s a few easy ones for you:

  • Honesty: You don’t have to know all of the answers (no one does). You just need to know how to get the answers. Be honest when you don’t know the answer. It builds trust.
  • Bravery: Clients usually need to hear things that they don’t want to hear. Your job is to tell them what they need to hear. No matter what.
  • Trust: This goes both ways. They obviously need to trust you, but you need to trust them. Conversations must be open from both parties.

Those are simple. If you’ve been coaching or consulting people for any length of time you’ll read that while nodding along in agreement. But there’s more…

Today I want to share with you one MAJOR factor in what will make YOU a phenomenal coach.

You see, there are people out there with knowledge. They know a lot about a particular subject and they do a solid job coaching others on whatever that subject is.

They’ve logged in the hours studying books, going to school, attending seminars, watching videos, and throwing themselves in the subject.

But… they’ve never actually done it themselves.

There are also people out there with know-how. They have actual experience with the subject and have produced results from their actions.

They don’t posses a deep knowledge of the subject other than what they’ve learned from their own personal experience.

Very few coaches have both. Deep knowledge and real life experience of a subject are a dangerous combination. It’s what separates the good coaches from the great.

If you want to achieve massive success coaching people and helping them reach their goals then you must have both knowledge and know-how.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, writer, consultant, coach, speaker, or whatever. If you’re trying to help people achieve goal by giving them counsel and advice… then you’ll help them the most when you combine knowledge AND know-how.

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  • Mike Wilke

    Amen. The best advice for consultants that I have ever read. Thank you.

    • John Morgan

      Thanks Mike! I really appreciate that.

  • Darrell Coulter

    That is the number one problem I see with the baseball coaches I work with. This info is dead on when it comes to a lot coaches philosophy. Can only imagine how it translates in the business world. The most successful coaches possess both knowledge and know-how. Well said.

    • John Morgan

      Darrell, that’s a great point about sports. I’ve seen first-hand a lot of coaches who seem to know the game, but have never actually played it themselves.

  • Dave Delaney

    I love this. I have clients who have worked with consultants who didn’t have the experience. It always comes back to bite them.

    I always tell people to research consultants. Read their LinkedIn recommendations, talk to their previous clients, look at their sites/blogs/social profiles. Check them out to be sure they practice what they preach.

    • John Morgan

      Thanks Dave! I think the social media space is one of the worst in terms of being filled with consultants who haven’t used social media themselves in a way that would help their clients. As you said, it’s about making sure they practice what they preach.

      • Dave Delaney

        I would say it quite possible *is* the worst space for this. There are so many snake oil salesmen out there. People need to do their research.

  • Melissa Michel

    I have been in the Trade Show industry for 20 years and didn’t have any kind of “formal” training. I learned the ins and outs by trial and error! In this industry (as with many others), experience speaks volumes. I’m actually in the process of adding consulting and training services to my menu as my professional experience will definitely back me. Great article!

  • Mitch Jackson

    John- Nicely done. Sharing the article with a friend of mine who is starting a jury consulting company. Might I add the important abilities to communicate and motive and to get others to dig deep and be their best also are qualities of great consultants or coaches.

    • John Morgan

      Thanks for sharing Mitch!

  • SlowEntrepreneur

    Reminds me of a talk I had with an SVP a while back, where he revealed to me that most people are either doers, or connectors and how hard it is to find someone who does both. I’ve often wondered if it’s possible to teach people to be both.

    I’m a doer myself and am working on my connecting skills, but it’s required a LOT of examination of personality type and tendencies, and placing myself into super-uncomfortable situations (often completely outside of the area that would seem most logical). I’m learning quite a bit from my niche (sports) and watching and helping competitors become coaches/instructors. Lots of lessons to be learned from the sports world.

  • Robert D. Smith

    You are soooo right, John! Without the actual experience, everything else is just regurgitated material people can find elsewhere.

    • John Morgan

      Thanks Robert!!!!

  • Will Hoekenga

    Not only is this great advice, but it comes from someone who actually practices what he preachers. Thanks for that, John!

    • John Morgan

      Thanks Will, I appreciate that.

  • OskarUrbanski

    One may have life experience in an area. Another may have an insight about something that they know is valuable. Unless they can teach it and or duplicate it in themselves or in others, they neither have the knowledge or the know how

  • Latasha Patrick

    Great article John.