Enriching your consulting role by combining it with business coaching

April 24, 2024, by Laura Martel, Marie-Hélène Demers, Diane Francoeur

“ The best management consultants are those who have a propensity for strategic thinking”. Those words were written by Terina Allen in the article "This Is What It Takes To become A Successful Management Consultant."

As the business world is facing a context of perpetual change - where work environments are becoming increasingly complex – consultancy roles, whether internal or external, must evolve. To stand out, strategic advisors must demonstrate strategic vision and greater flexibility to adapt their interventions and actions. But is that enough?

What if the answer lies in the field of business coaching to enhance our role as strategic advisors? We would be able to provide more strategic guidance to our clients and establish ourselves as credible and crucial partners for organizations and teams’ growth.

A learning path that combines strategic consultancy role and business coaching, this is what Marie-Hélène Demers - Chief Executive Officer, Talent and Human Potential at Afi U. - and Diane Francoeur - Director of Change Management and Support at Edgenda – dreamed of when they co-created the new "Coaching in a Strategic Consulting Role” microprogram.

Why was this microprogram created?

"The reason for the creation of this microprogram is simple," says Diane Francoeur. "We wanted to give advisors tools to enhance their impact on both clients and organizations they work with."

The complexity of current work environments requires advisors to demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and great adaptability. Consultancy roles are no longer practiced according to a predetermined model. Today, individuals must grasp the complexity of the organizational system and adapt their intervention in a co-creation mode with their client. They must both listen to the needs and demands of various stakeholders and "co-create" with them an effective strategy that promotes their engagement and impact within their organization.

"We selected the basic skills and tools of business coaching and integrated them into the consultancy intervention process. The 'Coaching in a Strategic Consulting Role' microprogram is a gateway and privileged access for advisors into the world of business coaching. To go further, there is always the possibility to experience a full learning journey by completing the professional certification path 'Coaching Fundamentals ", suggests Marie-Hélène Demers.

What sets this microprogram apart from other consultancy training?

The microprogram was designed with various practical and immersive exercises aimed at encouraging participants to develop systemic thinking and intervention skills. The goal is to increase their understanding of individuals and organizations and propel their intervention to a more strategic level.

By adding the dimension of business coaching and systemic approach to their skill set, advisors enhance their relational and communication skills. Interactions, between the advisor and the client, as well as between the client and their organizational system, then become catalysts for change.

"The roadblocks our clients encounter usually stem form relational dynamics among stakeholders" says Marie-Hélène. "To address this challenge, we need to step back, adopt a strategic perspective, and adjust our strategy to assist clients in intervening differently within their organization to achieve their goals."

When atypical paths become typical: How was this microprogram designed?

To create this microprogram, Marie-Hélène Demers and Diane Francoeur took inspiration in their own professional experience. Since they both have non-traditional professional trajectories, they have always sought to enhance their skills by drawing from various disciplines.

For Marie-Hélène Demers, there is no doubt that atypical paths are now typical. Bringing this microprogram to life by combining 2 disciplines such as consultancy and business coaching was a dream that both microprogram leads had cherished for a long time.

The interdisciplinary nature of this microprogram reflects the experts' desire to draw on their experience to meet a growing need in the consultancy world.

"Throughout our professional paths, each time we encountered challenges, we both instinctively drew from other disciplines to develop new ways of intervening, enhancing our skill set, broaden our horizons, and enrich our practice."

"Acquiring business coaching’s posture and key skills to guide consultancy support differently, to be more strategic and influential, and to have a greater impact is what we propose and aim to convey. It is also aligned with our mission, which is firmly rooted in our consultancy roots and our DNA in business coaching, which is the hallmark of the Edgenda group.”

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Source: This Is What It Takes To become A Successful Management Consultant, Terina Allen. Forbes. 2020 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/terinaallen/2020/02/26/this-is-what-it-takes-to-become-a-successful-management-consultant/?sh=1493d3d24ce1)