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EPISODE 3 Transcript: Cultivating Client Relationships—with Kristin Giantris

Deb: Welcome to episode 3 of the Craft of Consulting podcast. Today my guest is Kristin Giantris. She transitioned from being in the Wall Street world to doing strategic financial consulting with nonprofits in the social sector. So that was quite a change. Not only is Kristin a highly successful consultant herself, she's also the managing director for a group of over 40 consultants in a national consulting practice under the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

In this interview, we really dug deep into what it takes to be an excellent consultant and particularly how to build solid client relationships from the beginning. She shares a whole slew of insight about transitioning to being a consultant, getting business and how you build that practice over time, and then also knowing what's important in both consulting and in life. Again, very exciting interview today. Let's get started.

I'd like to welcome my fabulous guest today, Kristin Giantris, who is the managing director of the consulting practice for the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Welcome to the show.

 

Kristin: Thank you very much.

 

Deb: I want to start off with just some sort of origin questions. Let's start with what type of consulting do you do?

 

Kristin: Well, myself and my team here at NFF, we do what we call strategic financial consulting. We're working with nonprofits and social sector organizations across the country to help them both understand the financial performance of their organizations so that they can better align what they're trying to accomplish from a mission and program perspective with the appropriate financial structure and financial sources that they need to do their work.

 

Deb: That's great. I know you do consulting because I've been fortunate enough to see you in action, but how many people are in your practice?

 

Kristin: We have 42 people on our consulting team spread out across the country. We just mobilize them nationally for the most part and go to where our clients are in different parts of the country.

 

Deb: Wonderful. And how did you personally end up being a consultant because I know you did things before that.

 

Kristin: I did. I came into this work looking to marry what was most recently an experience in finance on Wall Street with what had been earlier experiences working with nonprofit organizations in my first career out of college. And I found Nonprofit Finance Fund. I came to it more from a skillset and a mission perspective, wanting to be back in the social sector. I oriented what I'd done in the past towards supporting and both providing consulting services and ultimately growing the consulting practice at NFF.

 

Deb: What was that reorienting process like when you first started? What did that transition look like?

 

Kristin: Most of my experience in my prior life, both in the pure finance world on Wall Street, as well as even the former nonprofit work, was really about relationship development, relationship management, and client management. I always sort of served as that coverage person or that facilitator. And I had to take that to a different level. I had to get more technically comfortable and confident. I had to learn how to take what was formerly more about relationship skills and translate those into problem-solving skills.

 

Kristin: I think people come to consulting in really different ways. I know that people on my own team come to it in really different ways. But for me, that's how I can be most effective, I think, in the room and with a client. You know, understanding the dynamic of the relationship and the needs of that person on the other side of the table, and then drawing out, OK, what are the technical things that need to be brought to this conversation? But, ultimately, I feel like what it really is about is managing and engaging in our relationship.

 

Deb: That's right. And how do you go about,not just building business for yourself but for your practice because that's a new thing when you become a consultant. We used to show up at our job. We knew what our job was. We had whatever resources we had to do our job. But now as a consultant, you have to go find that work. What has that experience been like?

 

Kristin: That experience feels very familiar to my prior life because I feel that my entire career has been about developing business in one way or another, whether it was looking to respond to government grant RFPs and chasing awards to be able to do different kinds of work in the nonprofit space, which, in fact, at that time was all international, or whether it was chasing clients to be their banker for their bond deal. It was about chasing business.

What I have had to do in this role has been, how do I take those skills, which are at this point pretty developed in me around being a business development person, but really orient that towards how do I talk about our consulting practice? What is distinct about Nonprofit Finance Fund’s consulting practice and approach? And how do I reconcile needing to be and wanting to be very responsive to a client need if we're talking directly to a client or even to a funder need because sometimes we're talking to foundations, large foundations, large institutions. How do I reconcile that with saying, "OK, this is the piece of business that I want out of this?" I've got to think about how it covers a team and depending on the scope of the work and those kinds of details.

Deb: Do you have any skills you particularly use that helps you get to a yes? So if you're able to clearly articulate and see, this is what I can do to help these folks, how do you help them get to the point where they see it too and say yes?

Kristin: This is a skill I use, but I think it also just draws on my personality. I think that my approach tends to be: what are you struggling with and/or, what are you excited about? What do you want to be doing and identifying with them and mirroring back how I have either experienced it myself or I have seen exactly what they're describing in A, B, and C situations. And basically affirming their position and then saying with real confidence how we respond to exactly the situations they're describing.

It's effective, and I don't want to ... It sounds like a ploy and I don't mean it as a ploy. When we meet well in the middle is when the person on the other side says, “You get me.” And, therefore, what I feel happens is that people just let their guard down. They're much more willing to share both their insecurities and their hopes and dreams, and then we can get into a little bit more detail about, OK, well, how might we structure a response to that. If we can have that kind of conversation then making the business ask, so to speak, at the end of that is a lot more easy. It's natural, and in a way they're expecting that ask. It's a matter of negotiating on a number at that point more than a thing, and it doesn't feel uncomfortable or inappropriate.

 

Deb: I like how you describe it as that moment of “You get me” because I think that's really the first gate, and I don't think it can be faked. I think it actually has to be genuine and be very authentic. Then to me the next step is also, as you described it, where it is you not only get me, you have something that is going to help me.

 

Deb: Most folks that you encounter and who I encounter, they're hard working, they're working long hours to put everything they've got into it what they're doing and they just need some help. So it's soothing for them to find somebody who says, “OK, I get it, and I got what you need. Take that off your worry list.” That, to me, is the human part of it but it has real. It has to be authentic.

 

Kristin: I absolutely agree with you, and what I have felt throughout my experience here at NFF, both doing the direct consulting work and growing the practice, is the ability to be that authentic in the work.

 

Deb: Didn't feel that way coming out of Wall Street?

 

Kristin: Which is why I left, quite honestly, and I don't know if I felt that way in the early part of my career because I just don't know that I felt confident enough in the early part of my career. I felt like I was faking it until I made it kind of thing.

There are still days that we all feel that way, but I think the authenticity also comes with two things, a level of comfort and confidence in what you're doing, and a real belief in what you're doing. It doesn't have to be a mission-led organization, but in my case we are a mission-led organization. I really feel very attached to the mission so it's easy to be authentic and freeing, actually.

 

Deb: That's great. You had one quote that I read that I just absolutely love, and I'm gong to read it. It's short, but I think it's so important to talk about it, which is, "There's no greater satisfaction in this work when we are able to provide clarity, relief, and energy to our clients when seeing that their increased ability to plan and manage financially allows them to double-down in their mission."

I loved the whole thing but the part that really jumped out at me is providing clarity, relief, and energy to our clients because that seemed to really get to a deeper level of the type of value that I think excellent consultants actually provide, so it's not just “I know things, I know how to do things, I'm going to show up, I will so those things, and then I will go away.” It really is about that key relational aspect. I'd love to hear from you in terms of why do you think clarity, relief, and energy really matters in a consulting arrangement because those are such specific words. I'd love to dig into those. Then how do you do it?

 

Kristin: OK. Let's pull those apart a little bit. That is my quote and I do believe it. Starting with clarity, like you said before, so many of the people we work with are committed and they're toiling hard, and they really are trying to make a change in some way. They're often not well supported in trying to make the hard decisions or those big changes. They don't have the right team, I wouldn't say the right, maybe sufficient team around them, or their team around them is also toiling, so they don't have the space or the people, time, to be able to just really sit in maybe a little bit of an unemotional detached way and say, “Let's name the problem, let's name where we see risk and opportunity in the problem, and let's think about ways that we can move forward.”

That sounds like a really general consulting framework or something, but I really think it starts there. And our clients just don't have the space for it. They don't have it. It's just too hard to wrap their heads around. So I think what we need to do when we walk in is to, in a really nurturing way but in a very straight way, say this is it. This is what it looks like. Let me show you the numbers. Let me ask you questions about other things besides the numbers because the numbers are never the whole story. And let us describe to you what we see from the outside knowing that we're not going to walk away from you when we name this. We want to reach some clarity, but we're not going to walk away from you. So you're not alone, basically. We're going to stay with you. But here's what it looks like. Let's all agree that this is what the picture is right now, and let's agree across the management team. Let's agree with the Board, if that's necessary. Let's agree and be in the same place at least to start the conversation.

I think the clarity leads to relief because we bring data and rationale to that picture. It oftentimes demonstrates what is in a leader's gut or instinct, but they don't have the evidence to point to necessarily. So even if the picture is bad it still brings relief. It's just like us in our own lives. You've got a problem, you've got to tackle it, but if you can at least clarity it for yourself, if you can at least identify what it truly is you feel like you have a level of control over it.

So I think bringing the data and bringing the outside third-party perspective to it brings both a combination of clarity and relief, particularly if the client is really wanting to engage in a solution.
That leads us to the energy part. There are, unfortunately, some points in times with certain clients where they're not ready to hear it, and, if they're not ready to hear it, you know, you can take a horse to water, you can't force them to drink. You can't take them, perhaps, past that point. But I would say 9 times out of 10, they are ready to hear it because it is affirming to them. It makes them feel much more in control, and it also makes them feel like they're not alone. They're not crazy. Their instincts and what they want to do to move forward is supported by an outside perspective.

It brings energy to them because it gives them options, and I think that even if the options are hard, there is not wasted psychic energy any more about what to do or why to do it. There's clarity about that, and so then they're moving to action. If we can help them move to action, and if we can help them constantly, in real time, assess what those actions are going to be, what the implications are going to be, maybe even support them through some of them.

Then help them pivot as they need to, or at least leave them with the tools and the data to help pivot. Then you have sustained energy because you have a path to walk down, and you also have the ability to make decisions along that path that you didn't have before. I find that emboldens leadership and it gives them a lot of energy.

 

Deb: That's great. I was looking at those and listening to you describe it, I thought that the tail end of that or mixed within is also hope. We've certainly worked, and I know you have, with organizations that have change-fatigue. There's been this initiative and that initiative and some things change, mostly things didn't.

 

Kristin: Right.

 

Deb: And people are low energy. They feel fatigued by it, but they want to have hope. They want to know that things can change, and I think that's one of the things that really excellent consultants can do. Even if it's not everything in the world they wanted. I was talking with a client recently who felt beat down. She'd been trying to change something for a while and it wasn't working, and she didn't believe that we could help. I said, “OK, what if it were 40% better? Would that, on a day-to-day basis, make your life better?” She said, I would have a party if it were 40% better. I said, “Great. So we're going to push for a 100% better, but you would be OK if some fundamental things change that actually push this forward in a way that you've been trying to do for a while? Hold on to that hope. It's not a T-shirt that we're going to create that says, hey, 40% better, but hold on to that hope, and then let's push for a 100% and see what we get. She found that invigorating to think of it in that way.

 

Kristin: I think something else that you're naming that I think is really critical is that a good consultant is actually present with their client, actually hears their client. The industry is so full of frameworks and performance stuff, and you need all of that. We all use those tools, but the answers don't lie in those tools. We have a number of values at NFF, but one of them is responsiveness. And we take that value very seriously and very deeply into our client work.

We have worked with hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of organizations. It is rarely we walk into an organization and find something totally different in terms of the analytics or the technical implications of what's going on in the financial side of the organization, but the context is always different. And we have to start with the context. Because if we don't start with the context, a) we're not being authentic in the room. We're not really trying to understand our client and meet them where they are, which is another big, important point for us, and b) we are not going to gain the trust of that client. They're not going to feel like we really are orienting our response to their need.

So, therefore, I think that you can deliver 40% under those conditions because you've really committed to what the actual needs of the client are. You've walked arm-in-arm or you've stood shoulder-to-shoulder, whichever term you want to use, with that client and, therefore, they feel both supported and heard. I just think, unfortunately, my experience is that is not what social sector, in our case non-profit clients, that is not necessarily their experience with consultants all the time.

 

Deb: I've encountered quite a bit where they've gotten the cookie cutter version.

 

Kristin: Yup.

Deb: I do a lot of strategic planning so they've gone through the strategic planning grill before, and any time you say the words “strategic planning” the eyes roll and the energy drops in the room because they think it looks like the same exact thing. But when you do it based on their context, truly hearing them, truly understanding the environment in which they have to operate, they have whole different experience of it. We've had people tell us, “Oh, that's what it's supposed to be.” Yeah, it's supposed to be about you. It's not about how to make my life easier. It's supposed to be about how to make your life easier. So I love that. I love hearing folks, and especially paying attention to the context because I've seen the same problems that you have, but change the context, the solution's completely different. You gotta pick up on that.

 

Kristin: Correct.

 

Deb: That's great. So one of the other things that I see a lot, particularly with new consultants, even some consultants who've been doing it awhile, is getting that clarity about client expectations and then being able to manage that overtime, knowing that their expectations might shift and change, sometimes for perfectly legitimate reasons, but being able to manage those over time so that you're delivering value, not blowing a budget.

 

Kristin: Right.

 

Deb: And you're maintaining that really good relationship with them. So how does that show up in your work and how do you respond to that?

 

Kristin: We spend so much time on those elephants. It shows up in a variety of ways, and it's interesting because the consultant practice at NFF has grown significantly and has evolved into a very different practice, I would say, in the last 5 to 6 years. A lot of the focus and what I've been trying to build with the team is a real understood approach internally for how we start the engagement with the client, how we have that first conversation. How do you then build a scope of work? Why do you build a scope of work the way you do? How do you go back and forth? You start right at that moment around managing expectations.

I think sometimes these steps, and we've been very intentional about laying out processes, and steps in the process, and defining that, and templates for it. We did a lot of that work, and what we learned in doing that in the earlier days was that's not enough. What junior consultants tend to do with that is say, “OK, these are the rails, and I've got to stay inside of them. And I'm going to use that to protect myself from the client. I'm going to use it so I don't over-commit in how I can say no.” I want them to use it for how they can say yes, not how they can so no. So what we have worked our way to and what I try to lead with just by example in clients is you want to overextend yourself in your interest and commitment to the work you're going to do with that client, and then you want to feel really comfortable and non-defensive about saying, “I is under these parameters by which I can do that. Will that work for you?”

It's hard. It's not something that you can easily start to do as a junior consultant because you feel like you're bargaining in the market or something, and you're not, necessarily. But it feels uncomfortable. There are so many layers here. We're consulting about finance. That always feels intimating and scary to people. And then we're layering on what the price of that is and, gosh, I've never talked about that before, and then I'm half-way through the engagement, and I'm three-quarters of the way through my budget. How do I have that conversation?

I think what we are coaching our junior folks to do, and we do this by kind of an apprentice model. I think that's not unusual, the senior consultant with the junior. The senior consultant, or if we have a larger initiative we have multiple clients in it, the initiative manager, they own that conversation, but we want those junior people to see those conversations and to see that they're done in a trustful, respectful non-defensive way.

And you know what? Most of the time that's received well. That's not to say that we don't have to give sometimes. We do have to give sometimes. That, though, is a strategic decision and we don't ask the consultant to make it. We say, “You have either your senior consultant partner, you have an initiative manager, you have your practice teams come back. We will help think through that. We will coach you through that decision” because, ultimately, it is strategic beyond that client too, oftentimes, that kind of decision.

 

Deb: That's right. I mean one of the areas where I see new consultants struggle is if the scope changes and it impacts the budget, and a reticence to say anything about that because the client didn't bring it up. I always say, well first of all, often it's a compliment. They like what you're doing, and they want to see you do other things for them. And that's great. But those are conversations that you should normalize and, in fact, you should normalize it from the beginning so the first time the word budget comes out of your mouth is not when there's a problem.

 

Kristin: Right.

 

Deb: Because that's part of what makes it tricky. So if you normalize it by saying when we have our check-in calls, I will check-in about how we're doing with the budget, or if there's an additional scope, don't do a lot of hammering about it. Just say, “That's great. Let me take a look at what that will do to the budget and, if it impacts it, I can come back with some options for you.”

 

Kristin: Exactly.

 

Deb: Things that, as you've done consulting for a long time, you sort of pick up and you get much more comfortable with. Where I work it's accomplished professionals who have been in their field for 20 years, where now they're having these transactional relationships with people they used to have a completely different relationship with, which adds another layer to it. I often say that processing, normalizing is your best hope at getting comfortable about that.

 

Kristin: Yeah, I would agree, and the other example I would offer from our team is, unlike yours maybe, a lot of our people come into our team their first or second job out of undergrad or grad school. They're relatively young. They're new professionals, and they're quickly at tables with very experienced people in terms of the clients. That's a hard dynamic and we recognize that.

So I agree with you on the normalizing, and then, for us, we also just try to give them the partnership support from other people on the team to be able to feel not so exposed but also not overly protected. Own a piece of this conversion. I'm going to partner with you on it. See how it works, and see how we can easily normalize it, and that it's OK on the other side. I think that's the biggest piece. I think newer consultants just need a few examples where they saw it work out.

 

Deb: Yeah.

 

Kristin: Maybe a little uncomfortable through it, but it works out. Once you know it can work out, your stress comes down. Your tone comes down. It's just an easier conversation.

 

Deb: I would agree. What other challenges have you seen that even yourself you had to figure out how to tackle over time?

 

Kristin: I think some of the biggest challenges are when you're dealing with a client who really wants to challenge you. I have no idea who will listen to this. Some of that may be gender based, I don't know. I do find that can be part of the situation, so that's another podcast.

 

Deb: I will have podcasts on exactly that.

 

Kristin: Yes. If I do well enough here, call me back. But generally speaking, it happens and it happen across genders, so I do think there are just certain clients, some of them are quite responsible for some very large institutions and programs, some of it is just personalities. It shows up in different ways, but there are certainly clients who just want to challenge you on, “I think I know this. Do you know it better than me?”

In those situations, what I have found, because I have found this not just in my consulting work at Nonprofit Finance Fund, I found that in my banking days, for sure, and I have to say one thing I have learned is to just sit back and relax into that moment. Listen to it. My instincts in the past were to start to think fast because I know this person is challenging me and getting up in my face a little bit. What am I going to do? I didn't listen, necessarily, as well, to what they were saying. First, really just listen to the words and try to separate the words from the tone because I find that the majority of the time when I just listen to the words I actually have an answer and so I all of a sudden can meet the challenge, and most of the time that diffuses the situation. They simply want to know you're legitimate.

I was raised by a father who told me fake it until you make it for many years but in those situations, don't fake it. It will get you in trouble, and there is greater respect from that person when you simply say, "You've raised a really important point. It is critical that we understand it. I don't know enough on that but I know who does. I'll be back to you on it," or something of that ilk. Just, honestly, end it that way. Perhaps even say in addition to that, "I think you should consider A, B, and C." Take the conversation back to where you were trying to take it, maybe also back to where your area of expertise is a little bit more and try to continue to add value in that way.

 

Deb: I've had those experiences quite a bit as well but the thing that I've noticed is those are the things that often can diffuse it. And in many cases those end up being some of my best clients and some of my favorite work because they had experienced other consultants before me and I understand why they probably want to poke the bear a little bit, or poke around little bit, and make sure they've got the real deal with you. It's legit. Stylewise, maybe not my favorite, There might be other things I don't like about it, but if I respond authentically and if I show what it is I know, and I also have access to other people who know things I don't, and I don't fake it, I found in most cases those end up being some of my favorite clients.

 

Kristin: I agree with you.

 

Deb: We do great work together.

 

Kristin: Exactly. And in a way you get to go to the next level, and they suddenly just want to be really smart with you. And that's a great partner to have in the client.

 

Deb: I agree That's great. That's a wonderful example because that's definitely something I've seen new consultants struggle with is when it gets emotional, and it's going to get emotional.

 

Kristin: It will.

 

Deb: In which case, again, that's how you learn the balance. Let me switch gears for one moment. I suspect that you have a life. Do you do other things besides work?

 

Kristin: I do.

 

Deb: Oh, I'm so glad. I'm so glad you do.

 

Kristin: I try to, anyway.

 

Deb: That's the other piece I'm going to be working with consultants on is work is part of your life, and the desire is to keep it in the proportions that you want and that are meaningful to your life. So let me ask you this. Other than work, which I know you love, what are some of the other things you do that are really important to you?

 

Kristin: I mostly parent a very vivacious 6-year-old boy and I really don't do many other things than that, lately. I'm a single mom with a 6-year-old son who is wonderfully active and outgoing and gets himself into trouble sometimes. I'm highly engaged with him and by him, and not just parenting him, but kind of experiencing the world through him. My world is a lot of outside time and playground time and exploring different classes of museums. We spent a lot of that, running around New York City, being a city kid, kind of thing. That's probably the most, there's not a lot of time, unfortunately.

I used to do other things. I'm a lifelong violinist, but I don't have time for that any more. All of my work experience and a lot of my personal experience before becoming to Nonprofit Finance Fund was all international. I did all international development and international clients in banking, so I spent a lot of time on planes and out of the country. I don't do that as much anymore so I do miss the travel bit, somewhat. We try to fit it in. But it's worth it.

 

Deb: Any tricks that you've learned along the way to keep those things in proportion?

 

Kristin: I have to say before having a child, I would defer to work, basically. I just let work lead, and I could stay an extra hour, I could do an extra trip, I could, da, da, da. There was nothing that bounded it for me, and I wasn't very good at it, just candidly. That just changed. Having a child, it just forced me to say, “I got to walk out now. That email is good enough to send the way it is. I don't have to read it eight times. Three was enough, or whatever.” This deck that somebody produced that I'm reviewing is actually 85 to 90% there. It's fine. I got to a place of force, and I kind of wish I had figured that out before, quite honestly, that we take ourselves a little too seriously, basically. Being responsive doesn't mean being perfect and overly invested, and that 80 to 90%, placed in the right places, is actually the same as a 120% placed in every place.

 

Deb: Exactly right.

 

Kristin: And so, just figuring that out, it takes a little bit of trial and error, I think, or just experience. You can look back and say, I didn't actually need to do it at that level on this one, and it would have been fine at, you know, 10% less. I think that's critical. I think that's the trick because, unfortunately, this is a fast-paced world.

I would say what I noticed coming post-recession, so post 2009-10, is that suddenly everybody's industry—I don't care if you were in banking, for profit consulting, nonprofit consulting, you are a provider on the front lines in the Bronx, you were doing marketing for L'oreille, I don't care what you were doing—suddenly everybody's lives became very immediate. And that hasn't changed. I just think, unfortunately, that's our society and that's our work world, and I wish the whole things would change, but it doesn't seem to change. So you’ve got to find your place in that because nobody can, in a healthy way, sustain that.

 

Deb: I often, because I work with folks who tend towards perfectionism, and I used to be one of them, definitely guilty of that. I started to divide it and I said, look, if you focus on value, that's about the client. If you focus on perfectionism, that's about you. So focus on the client. Focus on what's truly valuable.

I've learned how to do things…like I was creating a tool with one of my colleagues who I'd known for years. She's highly skilled, and I did something I'd never done before. I said, all right, here's what I'm thinking. Here's what I want. I'm going on vacation tomorrow. Make whatever smart decisions you think are the right decisions to make. I came back and what I saw was something probably 25% better than what I could have done because she looked at it in different ways than I did. She brought other people into it that sent it in the direction that added layers of value that I could not have thought of on my own. I had to let go of my version of perfectionism and then after that experience realized that I think it's perfect. It actually isn't. It's actually just me.

 

Kristin: Yup. I've had very similar experiences. It's interesting. I think, basically, the biggest lesson I've learned and it's not just a work lesson, it's a life lesson, is if it's about you it's not going to end well. It's never going to feel satisfying. There'll never be enough time. It just won't feel good. So if you just take it off of you and put it onto the client, the kids, the whatever, suddenly it all just works a little bit better, and actually easier. It's not so, I don't know, it's not held so tightly any more, and therefore it just flows a little bit more easily.

 

Deb: I would agree. I would agree, and my early version of that was more unhealthy selflessness, but once you get the balance right of I'm not carrying everything, that's what's absolutely freeing.

Just a couple of more questions. This is exactly what I was looking for. This is wonderful. Let's say I got a time machine. I don't, but let's just say I do, and you could go back in it to when you started consulting. Is there anything you would have done differently that, if you were giving advice to a new consultant saying, don't do what I did, what would that be?

 

Kristin: Don't try to be someone you're not. It will cause you undue stress and you just won't do as well. You won't feel as good. Whatever it is that you have to deliver, you’ve got to put it through your filter, your person filter I mean. Show up as you.

We all know that we've got to deliver within a certain parameter or we've got, there are approaches or beliefs or certain outputs that we have to deliver by, but you can do those through your lens, and through your own approach and thinking and personality.

I've spent years miserable trying to be the people around me. It wasn't effective and it certainly wasn't fun.

 

Deb: Authentic is just relaxing.

 

Kristin: It is. It is. It is so relaxing.

 

Deb: That's wonderful. Any final words of wisdom for the newbie consultants out there? Consultants who are still trying to find their way?

 

Kristin: I think the only thing I would say, although I feel like we kind of said it in different ways, is don't see your client as the other, or as the challenger, as the enemy. See them as a partner. See them as someone you want to…We tend to go into meetings and sit on opposite sides of the table. You, ultimately, metaphorically, want to be feeling like you're sitting on the same side of the table. Try to enter the relationships that way.

 

Deb: Yeah, and if a client gets that experience, that's going to be a new experience for them because that's not what most consultants do.

 

Kristin: Agreed.

 

Deb: For most, it's refreshing, and it's a sense of relief that they're in it with me, not they're worried about their next billable hour.

 

Kristin: Exactly. And they'll call you again because of it.

 

Deb: That's what I have found, especially with my clients who come back over and over and over again. They know that if I don't think I'm the right person to help them with something, or if I think they really don't need to do that, they need to do this other thing, they know I'll be honest with them because at the heart of it I care about them. I care about what's best for them and they can tell the difference.

 

Kristin: Absolutely.

 

Deb: Wonderful. Well, Kristen, thank you so much. This has been absolutely fantastic and I appreciate your coming on.

 

Kristin: Thank you, Deb. I applaud that you're doing this. This is really innovative and fun and I had a great time. So thank you.

 

Deb: All right, thank you so much.

 

Kristin: All right. Take care. Bye.

 

Deb: Thank you for listening to Episode Three of the Craft of Consulting podcast, so if you liked this and you want to hear more things like this please hit subscribe. We're going to have a lot more guests on that are going to share their insight or intel about being a successful consultant. And then, also, don't forget to go to craftofconsulting.com where there is a whole lot of other helpful information that can help you succeed in your consulting career. Thank you so much for listening, and I will see you next time. Bye, bye.