Are Consultants The Real Deal?
I was interested to read in the news today that,
“A BBC investigation has uncovered there are no laws against anyone operating as a therapist, psychotherapist or a counsellor in the UK.”
Although this isn’t news to me, I’m pretty sure that many people will be shocked that the profession isn’t regulated, not to mention feel confused about knowing which way to turn for help.
I think this is an issue within the whole wellbeing industry, not just in the therapy and counselling space. I’ve been at many networking events with half a dozen other wellbeing professionals promoting their services to workplaces to reduce stress, boost performance, improve morale and increase a sense of thriving. Many are experienced, qualified and brilliant at what they do. But some are not. So, how do you tell the difference?
I remember having a conversation with a gentleman last year who was excited to tell me about his new venture into the workplace world within a corporate setting. He was marketing himself as a wellbeing coach, having completed a 6 week retreat abroad on the subject. Despite coming from a completely different industry, 6 weeks was his total ‘training’. Now, I’m not doubting he might have a lot to offer, but it does raise the question I’m asked a lot – how do you know what you’re getting?
Get off the high-horse!
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that someone with lots of qualifications will necessarily do the job well. I’ve met some incredibly clever people whose ability to relate to others and creatively problem solve are not their strengths; they’re not going to be my go-to! And what about the (thankfully) less common people I’ve encountered who are so confident about their ‘talent’ that they make sure everyone knows about it, at any expense? I love awesome people when it’s authentic.
I think there are more people who experience the infamous Imposter Syndrome than care or dare to admit. It affects many fabulous professionals who are truly amazing at what they do and don’t know it. I had a brilliant video call this week with someone who connected with me on LinkedIn and was almost apologetic for asking for my time. I learned a great deal from her and had more respect for her approach, knowledge (regardless of where it came from) and experience than I think she really understood.
So, how do you know who’s the real deal?
- Ask them about their clients. What were the clients’ needs and how did the professional help?
- Ask for testimonials and check them out yourself. Anyone genuine won’t mind putting you in touch with their clients to find out more.
- Check out their content on their website and other social media, for example resources they’ve produced and blogs
- Awards are a good clue!
- Ask about their qualifications and their experience. Sounds obvious but we can easily make assumptions about people based on their job title (which they’ve possibly assigned themselves).
- Sound them out regarding an issue you’re having. Anyone really wanting to help and who has the right skills will want to invest in you. It’s not a one-way street.
- Are they prepared to say, “I don’t know!” or do they feel they have to maintain an expert role? That’s assuming you want a human who is going to partner you and jointly collaborate? No one knows everything. Ask a tricky question to test it out!
- Notice their approach. Are they focusing on a ‘sale’? Are they talking a lot about themselves? Or are they interested in the relationship and finding out about you? Often those people with more to offer are confident to let developments emerge without pushing.
- Will the professional tailor support to fit you and your organisation or do they just deliver off-the-shelf programmes? You might feel comfortable with the latter but be clear about the outcomes you hope to achieve.
- Be as clear as you can be (at this stage) about the outcomes you want. Are you looking for a one-off quick fix or a meaningful intervention that ensures it makes a difference? More people will be able to deliver the former and that’s fine if that ticks your box. But if you want change to be implemented and sustained, ask how the professional supports that to happen.
- Do you like and get on with the person? It’s another obvious question but successful engagement with consultants isn’t about how many letters they have after their name. Rapport is the basis of any meaningful relationship and you want to enjoy the journey you embark on.
- If you’re not sure, get a second opinion. It’s likely that the professional will be working with more than just you so get others who are likely to engage involved in the process of determining if the consultant is a good fit.
Over to you! Enjoy the conversations. Don’t rush the process. And don’t necessarily go for the cheapest – you get what you pay for!!
To ask any questions, discuss any of these points further or just to say “Hi, let’s connect!”, please drop me a line.