Trust-Based Consulting

GO KARTSIt’s one thing to be a smart consultant and another thing entirely to be smart about client relationships.

It’s the soft stuff that sets you apart when you’re in a consultative role (internal or external)—traits like humility, adaptability, and perceptiveness. And mastering the soft stuff doesn’t just happen; it requires the same attention you have given your industry knowledge, technical expertise, and problem-solving skills.

Take your consulting skills to the next level

Our Trust-Based Consulting program combines advanced consulting skills with the best practices of a trusted advisor. Developed in partnership with Trusted Advisor Associates, it provides in-depth experience with the cognitive, emotional and social skills required to be masterful in any consultative role.

“Moving from ‘collaborator’ to ‘trusted advisor’ requires a real focus on mindset, and a commitment to creating safe havens for tough issues. Now I know better how to understand what my client has in mind and what his real goals are. Right away, this has led to much more effective interactions” — Participant, 2011


This program is ideally suited for:

  • Front-line consultants with direct client responsibilities
  • People in shared services roles (such as IT, finance, HR)
  • Client relationship managers
  • Account managers
  • Project managers

Involve your entire organization or strategically targeted groups.


We always tailor a program to match your real needs. Choose one of the following or combine several for maximum impact:

  • Customized, stand-alone workshops (usually one to three days, staggered or sequential)
  • Keynotes and mini-modules to add to off-sites, workshops, and other scheduled events
  • The Trust Quotient diagnostic
  • Your 30-day experiment
  • Individual or team coaching


Exact outcomes depend on the scale and duration of a program. Here’s a sample list of program objectives:

  • Describe the cognitive, emotional, and social skills required to be an effective consultant
  • Recognize the four variables of trust and identify specific ways to improve personal trustworthiness ratings
  • Effectively engage clients and other stakeholders to reveal root cause issues and needs
  • Apply the dynamics of influence to achieve results with others
  • Understand how to consistently elevate your role from custodian to collaborator to trusted advisor.


Here’s a sampling of what our clients have said they’ve learned:

Client Relationships

  • “Client focus is personal, psychological, starts with me”
  • “Intentions matter; clients can tell”
  • “Saying you don’t know helps credibility; not saying it destroys it”
  • “A lot of this is about personal courage”
  • “If I’m thinking about controlling the client, I’m thinking wrong”
Influence and Getting Your Advice Taken

  • “It’s not as much about expertise as we think”
  • “You have to earn the right to be right”
  • “Be curious, be courageous, be yourself”
  • “Clients want to know the limits of your knowledge, not its extent”
  • “Put yourself in their shoes”

  • “Probe to find the real problem before providing answers”
  • “Let the client do 90% of the talking”
  • “Ask the tough questions, they pay off”
  • “The real value is in the discovery, problem definition, framing”
  • “Win/win/win/win/win—dare to be great in envisioning outcomes”
Dealing with Conflict

  • “Framing problems with ‘we’ is a game-changer”
  • “Listening is an active—and undervalued—process”
  • “There’s big value in speaking the hard truths”
  • “Talk about the elephant in the room”
  • “Always keep an open mind”

“We had fantastic dialogue with colleagues and the instructor, along with role playing in a safe environment. A great combination” Participant, 2011


There is no trust without risk, and there is no excellence in consulting without it, either. In our programs, we discuss thought-provoking concepts, teach tough lessons, and engage in candid conversations. We focus on helping you develop new mindsets as well as skill sets by using:

  • Intellectually challenging models, paradoxes and stories
  • Real client situations (yours)
  • Customized caselets
  • Role-playing
  • Other experiential learning

Find out more in our nine-point checklist for successful trustworthiness training.

Or talk to us about bringing this program to you.