Who doesn’t fear the auditor, the skilled corporate detective who shows up unexpectedly, looking to find mistakes?
I was an auditor before becoming a learning professional, and I heard this sentiment regularly from the people I’d been assigned to audit. You see, by some people’s expectations, I was just too agreeable to be an auditor. That can’t be good — after all nice guys finish last, right?
Wrong — at least in learning! Agreeable Learning Consultants finish first, and for good reason.
Learning Consultant AKA Learning Liaison
Learning Consultants act as intermediaries between clients who need help solving performance challenges and learning pros who offer possible solutions. They navigate easily between both worlds, speaking the language of learning and business. It’s akin to being an ambassador — representing one country while domiciled in another, helping ensure the interests of both parties are well understood.
So, what does being agreeable have to do with being a great learning consultant? Agreeableness is one of the five traits in the Five Factor Model, a taxonomy of personality traits created by psychologists. Take the online test to see where you fall on the Agreeableness scale.
As a learning professional for over 25 years, I’ve leveraged the agreeableness trait to be successful, especially in the role of a Learning Consultant. People with high levels of agreeableness are perceived by others as more:
- Cooperative, warm and considerate
- Trusting, straightforward and empathic
- Forgiving, flexible and patient
- Transformational versus transactional — when leading others
3 Skills of Agreeable Learning Consultants
Agreeable Learning Consultants use three critical skills to deliver excellent results:
- Superior communication
- Strong collaboration
- Transformational leadership
Superior communicators are, first and foremost, better listeners! That’s how agreeable Learning Consultants exercise their natural traits of empathy, trust and patience. In order to put themselves in their clients’ place, they take the time to ask truly insightful and empathic questions. In other words, they practice emotional intelligence. This allows them to gain greater understanding of the problem and open a path towards the right solutions.
While naturally possessing these traits gives agreeable Learning Consultants a head start, developing strong listening skills is possible for anyone!
Agreeable Learning Consultants drive strong collaboration by using their natural tendencies towards cooperation and consideration. Their innate flexibility helps ensure ideas from all parties are explored, options are weighed, and the best decisions are made. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, strong collaboration results in faster and better decision-making, higher productivity, and a greater ROI. This certainly applies to solving performance problems; collaboration between clients and learning professionals will produce the best outcome, and an agreeable Learning Consultant can help lead the way.
Agreeable Learning Consultants often display the traits of transformational leadership — after all, they’re engaged in bringing about significant change. Transformational leaders work with vision and passion towards an end. Seeing a problem, they conceptualize solutions, and unleash smart people to solve it. Think Warren Buffett, a transformational leader who radically changed stock investing.
What type of leadership do agreeable Learning Consultants bring to a situation like performance problems? As transformational leaders they apply expertise and judgment. From adult learning to instructional design to training execution, these professional have the expertise to choose the right solution to help their client.
Expertise alone is not enough, though. Transformational leaders use sound judgment developed from past successes and failures to weigh options, foresee consequences and recommend solutions.
The Whole Package
Agreeable Learning Consultants are key to solving tough performance problems. Leveraging superior communications, driving strong collaboration, and demonstrating the sound judgment and expertise of transformational leaders, they can ensure the right problems are identified, the right solutions are created, and real change is achieved.
And that’s how nice guys do finish first!