consultancy and personality

I am currently studying for an MBA and MSc in Human Resource Management (glutton for punishment) with the Open University. As part of my current module (The HR Professional) I have been keeping a professional development file. Which, to be honest, is a bit tricky seeing as I have no current professional practice to reflect on. However I have used it as a self-awareness process to help me think about my future career options and in particular have been thinking about whether a future career as a freelance consultant would suit me. In order to do this I have analysed my strengths and weaknesses and undertaken some psychometric tests. Looking at my preferences in relation to Myers-Briggs – I am an ENTJ so tend to be rational, logical, I like structure and plans rather than ‘winging it’. I do tend to work best when in a team and can bounce ideas off people. I have worked from home a fair bit in the past and can end up feeling a bit isolated and disconnected if I am not careful. So perhaps the sole consultant role is not for me?

This got me thinking as to whether there were certain personality types or characteristics that make for successful consultants. I then had an interesting exchange with @picklejar who wrote a blog post reflecting on her role as a consultant. She suggested that confidence, authenticity and being able to listen were critical but also that context and sector had an impact.  My OU study materials have also been of some use, proposing key characteristics are confidence, resilience and relationship building. I am not sure I have the necessary confidence to ‘hard sell’ my skills and knowledge to organisations but imagine that this grows with experience. And I suppose the same is true of resilience – once you have survived a few knock backs it becomes less of an issue. I have strengths in building relationships so can at least confidently tick one box.

The proof of the pudding is to put it to the test and with some luck, I will be getting the opportunity to do just that. My next OU module is Making a Difference where I need to undertake an organisation based project. So some lucky organisation gets to be a test bed for my burgeoning consultancy skills – I bet they can’t wait.