“Should you Become A Pink Zebra Consultant?” That is the question I get the most on my consulting list. And the answer varies widely from one professional to another. But it is a question that deserves some deeper scrutiny. Because, while there are many differences of opinion about this question, there are some similarities as well.
As a counselor and therapist, I help people who are struggling with deep emotional issues. Sometimes they need to talk to someone who is more experienced in that type of work. So I ask them, “Do you want to work with a counselor who specializes in counseling? Or would you rather be a psychologist or psychiatrist?” And the answer from many of my clients has been that they prefer the one who knows more about the clients’ backgrounds, but also knows how to effectively help them overcome deep issues that prevent them from achieving their goals in life.
Counselors specialize in helping clients to develop and strengthen their personal skills and their ability to make positive changes in their lives. Psychologists tend to focus more on solving complex issues. Psychotherapists tend to focus more on reducing the client’s distress. So what are the skills you should have to become a consultant? Well, as a counselor and therapist, I would say that you should be able to help clients identify and change the limiting beliefs that are holding them back from reaching their potential in life.
The second area where you can help clients is in your areas of leadership and management. Obviously, a counselor needs to be in a position to help clients overcome their issues, but there is more to that than just counseling. A good counselor will lead by example. In other words, it is important that you work in an environment where you model success. A word of caution, though.
In today’s economy, counselors who work with potential clients should also have realistic expectations about their own job satisfaction. If you are not enjoying your job, tell your potential clients so. Tell them about the problems you are having with feeling unappreciated or inadequate. If you think this is making you less attractive to the hiring manager, then tell them so. If you are having difficulty finding a job, tell the potential clients that you are having trouble securing a job and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to secure a job.
In closing, it would behoove you to become a pink zebra. There is no doubt that you can make a lot of money working as a consultant for different companies. But even if you are the very best at what you do, you may not be satisfied with your own job satisfaction. In fact, you may not even be interested in it.