As consultants, many of us are intrigued by the mysterious disappearance of clients, post recession.

Neither have they communicated any reason of their disappearance from the horizons of possible engagements. Nor have they left any forwarding address for us to attempt re-engaging.

What could have happened?

Well, in my experience, in this age of ‘constant-beta’, it seems that consulting as a profession seems to be going through radical redefinition.

This includes those in legal, medical, technical, financial and such other professions.

A completely new set of client expectations is spawning a new genre of consulting – New Age Consulting.

Clients are expecting consultants – employed with corporations, on contract or independent – to take on different roles. Sometimes that of a parent, sometimes a mid-wife and sometimes even a housewife. As one of my consultant friends aptly eulogized, consultants are now expected to become Draupadis. Not just in being comfortable with polygamy but also in terms of relating to different partners differently.

Are we prepared? Are we equipped to sense and respond to clients’ needs of relating differently? From an expert, to a guide, to a facilitator, to a coach or just a trusted agent?

Are we ready to let go of the holier than thou posture of a sage-on-the-stage to become a guide-by-the side?

I guess, it’s all about figuring out the nuances of balancing

  • Holding on and letting go
  • Dependency and independence
  • Pushing back and empathizing
  • Participating and facilitating and finally
  • Clients’ expectation and consultants’ recommendations.

At a deeper level it’s about the readiness to un-carve oneself from the traditional mould of what in my mind a consultant’s role is to perhaps re-carve to take on the role of a New Age consultant. Some sort of coping with the insecurities of letting go of the familiar, faith in the unfamiliar and go-getting to respond to whatever seems to be the clients’ crying need.

Which is all about listening. Listening that is surrendered, unconditional and devoid of any judgment or interpretation what so ever.

I invite comments from fellow consultants to get some clues to unravel the mystery of the missing clients.

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