It seems that consulting and emotional intelligence are not related at all. However, it will be shown that these two aspects are closely related. Consulting in any field should be from people to people. The reasons are described below.
Which aspects are important in a consultative process?
In consulting and in the execution of any project, there must be time to plan, execute and control, as well as time for building healthy relationships between stakeholders. It is necessary to highlight that it is not a matter of giving a completely different approach to the consultative processes, the intention is not to transform the project into something fully recreational, but special importance should be given to the interaction between all parties, considering their motivations and interests. Some consulting firms may have highly trained consultants at a technical level but who demonstrate low empathic capacity in terms of relationships with the stakeholders. It is difficult to incorporate resources to the team that in addition to having expertise in the technical field, also have the five emotional skills that are part of emotional intelligence according to the psychologist Daniel Goleman: self-knowledge, motivation, empathy, self-regulation and social skills.
What should be the differential of a consultative process?
The definition of success in a consulting process lies in the relationships; a completed project should not be considered as successful if all the planned activities were fully and effectively executed, but client intimacy was not built, and interpersonal and bidirectional consultant-client networks were not created. The planned work has been accomplished, but it could go beyond technical compliance by building empathic ties with the stakeholders.
In this way, not only both parties are obtaining benefits, but also, there is an imminent opportunity to connect with the same client in the future; it is what in sales would be known as “loyalty marketing”. This technique would be used not only after ending the project, but during the entire consulting process. This would be a great differentiator between consulting firms since there are organizations of consultants for clients, as well as organizations of people for people. In the second scenario, a “contagious” effect is created since the client will begin to behave in the same way as treated, therefore a harmonious environment is produced while regular project tasks are executed.
How does consulting relate to emotional intelligence?
Continuing with the definition of success, the key factor to achieve it at a consulting process level is not only technical expertise but also emotional skills that are measured by the emotional coefficient (EQ). Although having human talent with all these skills sounds utopian, it is necessary to start developing a new cultural mindset from the heart of the consulting organizations that allows companies to train their personnel on these skills. This cultural change will generate substantial changes in hiring processes and when training current human talent.
According to Goleman, who gained worldwide recognition for his bestseller “Emotional Intelligence”, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess and control one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. This concept is even being considered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the 6th edition of the PMBoK where it is described as “…the ability to identify, assess, and manage the personal emotions of oneself and other people, as well as the collective emotions of groups of people…”.
It is time to give more relevance and importance to emotional skills within organizations!