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Beginning a Successful Consulting Business

by lyn christian on November 12, 2009

Consulting Questions SignpostJack Welsh has often said, “The more our clients succeed, the more we succeed.”

No matter your business, skillful consulting and consultation conversations are a powerful part of your work. The desired outcome of any consultation is of course to find a solution that exactly meets the client’s needs. In other words, we find a way to help our clients succeed.

The best information, the strongest mentoring I’ve ever had in terms of learning how to find the client’s needs comes from Mahan Khalsa. I met Mahan while I worked on the Innovation team at Franklin Covey. In fact, I had the pleasure of being the first ghostwriter/developer for his book Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play. In the book and the audio program by the same title, Mahan offers a masterful methodology of how to handle consulting work.

Let me share some of the highlights:

Common mistakes in our consulting when we are trying to get to a client’s needs are:

  • We guess what our client wants
  • We accept the first thing that they tell us they want
  • Many times, they can’t tell us what they want because they don’t know their options. We don’t take time to draw the solutions out of the client.
  • We don’t have the right intent.

The intent of any great consultant is to find the perfect solution for their clients needs regardless if the solution is something you can provide or not.

When we consult it is important to ask questions until you feel like you have a clear view of the client’s needs and challenges… then, repeat back to them exactly what you think they are saying… then, ask them “am I correct?”

The line of questions you’ll use could look something like these:

What have you already tried? What worked, what didn’t?

How do you know this is a problem?

What is the problem causing in your life?

How will you know when it is solved?

How much is the problem costing you now?

How much will it cost you to fix it?

Lets Get Real


If you are ready to fill up your tank with world-class information on how to be a better consultant, this audio program is my first suggestion.

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the buyer/seller relationship by Mahan Khalsa, Randy Illig, and Stephen R. Covey (Audio CD – Nov 18, 2008) 

AuthorArrowAbout the Author:  Lyn Christian is the founder of SoulSalt, Inc., a coaching and coach training company.  She is passionate about the “free-agent” worker who wants to earn their living and live their lives by doing what inspires them.  Get more information by visiting or contact Lyn directly through

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