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Five Reasons why Consulting Courses are a Bad Idea

Five Reasons why Consulting Courses are a Bad IdeaIn my last post, “Do You Really Need Consultant Training to be a Consultant?” I talked about how a large number of people are turned away from potential consulting careers because they're convinced that special training, certifications and prerequisites are necessary. While it's true that the corporate trend seems to be to require an increasing number of certifications and other (ultimately meaningless) pieces of paper from employees, companies use a different set of standards when they look at hiring consultants. When companies decide to bring consultants in, they only care about one thing – results. They don't care about the consulting courses that you've taken, and they certainly don't care about the time you've spent attaining certifications.

Think Differently About Consulting Courses

If you're considering a career in consulting, and you believe that consulting courses will make you more successful, I urge you to consider a different perspective. I'm approaching my 20th year as an independent consultant, and I've never taken a single consulting course. I'm not against education, and I'm definitely not opposed to the notion of people learning new skills and concepts to better themselves. However, I have many reservations when it comes to taking courses specifically designed to help people enter the consulting field. That's why I'd like to highlight some concrete reasons why consulting courses are a bad idea.

  1. Consulting Courses Don't Provide Real-World Experience

    There's a good reason why I decided to title one of my books, “Experience Matters.” The reality of consulting is that the experience you've developed from years of working in your career and making positive things happen is the single most important asset you possess. As a consultant, your experience is what will make you attractive to prospective clients, not the number or type of courses that you've attended.

  2. The Money Spent on Courses is Better Spent Elsewhere

    One of the most commonly touted pieces of wisdom in the business world is that you have to spend money to make money. Generally speaking, this is true. Without making an investment in your career, you're unlikely to see it bear any fruit. However, consulting courses can be incredibly expensive without offering you anything that would make you more attractive to potential clients. Instead of paying money to listen to lectures that you could probably give yourself, invest in an updated smartphone or tablet computer, both of which will allow you to become more nimble as you work with clients and grow your business.

  3. You Don't Have the Time for Consulting Courses

    Have you ever noticed that the more time passes, the faster it elapses? If you're like most busy professionals, you probably have no trouble filling your calendar – even if you've been out of work for some time. That's why it's so important to engage in activities that offer you the greatest value in exchange for your time. Consulting courses are time-consuming, and they offer very little value when the clock is ticking.

  4. You Won't Find Clients at Consulting Courses

    As a consultant, one of your primary goals should be to find, attain and nurture your client relationships. In fact, this should probably be at the top of your priority list if you want to be successful in consulting. That's why you need to put yourself in positions where clients can find you easily and where you can make yourself available to them. Sadly, you're unlikely to locate good clients while taking consulting courses. Your time is better spent researching companies and making connections that can grow your client list in a practical manner.

  5. There's Almost Nothing You can Learn in a Course That You Can't Learn in the Real World

    When you think about your life and the lessons that you've learned, most of your wisdom and expertise has probably come from basic life experience. Certainly, the classroom environment prepared you in a number of important ways, but the tools you need to relate to people and, ultimately, be successful at consulting are those that you can only find by stepping out from behind your desk and working in the real world. A consulting course might expose you to the occasional nugget of wisdom, but it will never be a substitute for the type of learning you can experience by moving forward into the world and putting one foot in front of the other.

Move Forward Without Consulting Courses

As you can see, consulting courses are not essential to becoming a consultant in today's world. In fact, they might even stand in the way of your goals, particularly if time is an important factor. Instead of signing up for a consulting course, I suggest that you work on specific skills like sales, interpersonal communications and developing your Emotional Intelligence, or EQ. By leveraging your experience and engaging your willingness to hone certain skills, you will develop an aptitude for consulting that no course can teach you.

If you're interested in learning more about what Buddy has to say about consulting courses and much more, take a look at some of the free consulting resources we have available right here on Ex3matters.com.