Skill Indawo - Consultant Onboarding Course







Thank you for registering as a consultant on the Skill Indawo platform! 

We will strive to supply you with the latest thought leadership regarding business consulting and provide you with the latest tools to be successful as a freelancer.

We have designed this course to get you started in consulting. This course was developed for people with and without consulting experience and every consultant on our platform will have to fully complete this interactive course.

You will always have access to this information.

This content covered in this course will only provide you with the introductory information to get you started on the Skill Indawo platform. We urge all our consultants to continuously develop their consulting skills and we will provide you with information of such professional courses that you can choose to attend.

The course will not take you longer than 1 hour to complete, and you are able to do it in multiple sittings.

Please make sure to fully complete every section and the entire course and submit your results once you have worked through all the content. After you have completed the course SI will activate your account and you will be ready to start freelance consulting through Skill Indawo.

We give special thanks to Mr. Angelo Kehayas, a fellow at the Institute of Management Consultants and Master Coaches of South Africa. He has graciously provided Skill Indawo with the bulk of the content for this course that allows us to provide you with a great interactive learning program.

We urge you to download the content so you can always have access to the content of this course.

Now let’s get started!

Who we are

What is Skill Indawo

What we do as a company

The reason why we are in business

Our mission as Skill Indawo is TO DO GOOD as a company through the work of our consultants. 

Our consultants strive to provide professional support and service to any company, of any size, in any industry.

By doing GOOD, we mean that as a consultant, you pledge to support business in South Africa and to take on projects where you can make a difference.

Question: What we stand for

Our mission as Skill Indawo is  as a company through the work of our consultants.


The meaning of our name

“Indawo” is a Zulu word meaning "location" or "place". 

And so our platform’s value proposition is  “skill location”. 

What the platform is not

Our logo

How we assist our conultants

How does Skill Indawo work?

Our clients

How the Skill Indawo process works

The consultant process (1 of 2)

Step 1. Browse projects

  • It will be up to the consultant to log into his/her administrator account to view the project postings of the day. A project posting by a client will either be “Open” or “Closed”.
  • ”Open” project posting means that a consultant can still apply to consult on a specific project.
  • “Closed” project posting indicated that the client has identified the consultant for their project.

Step 2. Apply to project

  • If a project posting status is “Open” any consultant can apply for a project by clicking on the “Apply to Consult” button on the project posting.

Step 3. Communicate with client

  • After you have applied to a specific project(s), the client will receive a shortlist of all the consultants that applied to consult on the specific project posting. The client can then either hire a consultant immediately or request further information from a shortlist of consultants. The client is also provided with consultants contact information and the client must initiate the communication.
  • The client will have access to your contact information and it is up to them to liaise with you.
  • The client can either request an interview via telephone, skype or face-to-face depending on their needs, the project type, and your availability.
  • If you are hired by a client without communicating with them first, you will be notified via email.
  • Except for the completion of the Project Consultation agreement (PCA), all communication will be directly between yourself and the client via the communication channels that you and the client prefer.
  • If you are not contacted by the client within 14 days from when you applied, you can deem your application to be unsuccessful.

Step 4. Gather information

  • Once you have been notified by the client that they intend to use your consulting services, it is up to you to do the necessary research in preparing your proposal for the client.
  • The client may meet with several consultants before appointing the consultant that they would like to appoint.
  • Please review all the additional documentation the client may have attached in the project post.
  • Alternatively please request the client to provide you with any additional information /documentation you might need.

Step 5. Meet with Client

  • During this stage, you as the consultant will be able to gather more information on exactly the type of consulting required.
  • It will also be an opportunity to assess the consulting opportunity.
  • For many projects, you may not have to meet with the client to perform your functions as a consultant.

Step 6. Present your proposal to the client

  • During this stage, all the necessary information was collected and you have had the opportunity to assess the necessary cause of action required.
  • We advise that the consultant formulates the proposal in accordance with the online Project consultation agreement (PCA) they will need to complete.
  • Please print the PCA document to ensure you include all the necessary information during your discussion with the client.
  • You have formulated your interventions and you propose the way forward to your client.
  • This proposal presentation does not need to be face to face.

Step 7. Discuss project details

  • This forms part of step 6 and here you define crucial project details such as;
    • The objectives of the consulting project.
    • What type of interventions will be required?
    • What are the resource commitments from the client?
    • What are the resource commitments from the consultant?
    • What are the measures of success for the project?
    • Will there be multiple project milestones?
    • When will the consultation begin?
    • Estimated date when consulting will conclude?

Step 8. Negotiate fees

  • You as the consultant decide the consulting fees you would like to charge to the client.
  • Projects fees can either be hourly, monthly or a fee for an entire project. You agree to the fee structure with the client.
  • Important information to be discussed include;
    • Hourly fee?
    • Monthly fee?
    • Project fee?
    • Will there be multiple payments to the consultant linked to the successful completion of project milestones?
    • Approximate total of hours required for consulting.
    • Approximate total of months required for consulting.
    • Will the consultant be able to claim for any additional expenses incurred?
    • How will expenses be claimed and what will be included and or excluded?
    • Date(s) on which consultant will be paid.

The consultant process (2 of 2)

Step 9. Get appointed by client

  • Once all the project scope and fees have been agreed to, the client must appoint the consultant from their client dashboard.
  • They do this by going to the listed project and viewing who applied.
  • From here they can then click on the consultant's profile and press the button to appoint the consultant.

Step 10. Completing the PCA

  • You as the consultant will be notified that the client has formally appointed you as their consultant.
  • You will either be notified by the client that they have done this or via email notifications.
  • It is now up to the consultant to complete the project consultation agreement (PCA) via their Skill Indawo profile before the consultation can begin.
  • The PCA is the physical legal document between you and the client that needs to be completed before any consultation can begin.
  • If the PCA is not completed and accepted by the client, there is no physical legal document between you and the client and Skill Indawo will not be able to support and assist the client or consultant.
  • Please go to all open projects and click on the specific project.
  • Click on the "complete PCA" button and complete the online PCA from.
  • After you have completed it, please press submit

Step 11: Wait for PCA approval

  • Once you have submitted the PCA, the client will be notified to view and accept the PCA document from the Skill Indawo profiles.
  • The client will be notified via email that the PCA has been completed and that they need to accept the online document.
  • It is also up to the consultant to notify the client that they have completed the PCA and that they await the approval of the document before the consultation can begin.
  • The client will click on the listed project and press the “View” PCA document button.
  • After they have read and understood the content in the document, the can either choose to accept the document, or to request amendments to be made.
  • If they choose to accept the PCA, they will accept the terms and Skill Indawo will be notified.
  • If they request for amendments to be made, the consultant will be notified via email that the client request amendments and the consultant will have to amend the PCA and resubmit it to the client for approval.

Step 12: Project gets funded

  • After the client has approved the PCA, Skill Indawo will be notified.
  • A Skill Indawo representative will work through the accepted PCA and create an invoice for the client.
  • The Skill Indawo representative will then communicate with the client and send all the necessary documentation to ensure the client is able to fund the consultation project as soon as possible.
  • After the client has paid Skill Indawo the amount in accordance with the PCA and the amount is reflected in the Skill Indawo bank account, a Skill Indawo representative will notify the consultant that their project has been funded and that they can start the consultation process.
  • Skill Indawo will prompt the client to fund their projects in advance to help ensure the consultation process is not adversely affected by late payments by the client.

Step 13: Start consulting

  • The consultant must not start with any consultation work before being notified by Skill Indawo that their consultation project has been funded.
  • Funded means that the client has paid the specified amount(s) as per the PCA to the Skill Indawo bank account.

Step 14: Get paid

  • On the completion date of the consulting as specified in the PCA, Skill Indawo will request approval from the client to enable Skill Indawo to release the payment(s) to the consultant for the work completed.
  • Skill Indawo will immediately upon confirmation from the client, pay the consultant the amount equivalent to 75% of the consulting fees charged.
  • The Skill Indawo transaction fee will be the remaining 25%.
  • If the consultant claimed any additional expenses for the consult work completed, the consultant needs to provide Skill Indawo with the Skill Indawo claim form. Skill Indawo will forward an invoice to the client for the funds to be paid to the Skill Indawo bank account.
  • Upon receipt of the funds and with the confirmation from the client that Skill Indawo can reimburse the consultant, Skill Indawo will immediately pay the full amount of the expenses claim to the consultant.
  • Skill Indawo does not take a percentage on any agreed additional expenses incurred by the consultant for completing the consultation process.
  • Any financial costs incurred by Skill Indawo will be included on the invoice for the clients account.

Step 15: Provide client with report

  • It is of fundamental importance that the consultant provides the client with a formal written report after the consultation has been completed.
  • This is important to ensure that there is knowledge transfer between the consultant and the client.
  • A Skill indawo representative will request this report from the consultant and it will be stored by Skill Indawo for proof of services rendered by the consultant.


Step 16: Rate and Review

  • After completion of the project, you as the consultant will be rated by the client in accordance with the following criteria on a scale from 1 to 5;

        - The consultation was successfully concluded in the agreed time period.

        - The consultant was professional in his or her consultation.

        - The consultant effectively communicated and provided feedback to the client throughout the  

           consultation process.

        - The consultant delivered on the objectives of the project.

        - Will you recommend the consultant to future clients?

  • As the consultant, you will also be required to rate the client in accordance with the following criteria on a scale from 1 to 5

        - The project scope was clearly communicated to the consultant.

        - The client provided all necessary resource to support the consultant.

        - The client was efficient in communicating with the consultant.

        - Will you recommend the client to other consultants?

  • You will do this rating from your consultant profile after the project has been completed.
  • The rating and review of both the client and the consultant will appear on the client and the consultant profiles for future parties to review.

The consultant process for small / urgent projects

Consultant process for smaller and urgent projects

For smaller and urgent project for SME's the consultant might not have the opportunity to first gather information to present a plan of action to a client. The consultant might be appointed immediately and requested to deliver an urgent project within 24 hours. 

In these situations, the consultant must try to present a solution to a client as soon as possible, discuss the scope and the appropriate fees associated with the project and the client can immediately appoint the consultant.

Thus many of the steps will happen simultaneously, but the following steps will remain as standard, no matter the size or urgency of a project;

Step 1. Browse projects

Step 2. Apply to project

Step 3. Communicate with client

Step 7. Discuss project details

Step 8. Negotiate fees

Step 9. Get appointed by client

Step 10. Completing the PCA

Step 11: Wait for PCA approval

Step 12: Project gets funded

Step 13: Start consulting

Step 14: Get paid

Step 15: Provide client with report

Step 16: Rate and Review

Question: The Skill Indawo consultant process

What is the 1st step in our process - 

What is the 5th step in our process - 

What is the 12th step in our process - 

Introduction to consulting

What is consulting?

Management Consulting:

The profession of independent advice and assistance about the process of management of clients with management responsibilities.

Management Consultant:

An individual who provides independent advice and assistance about the process of management of clients with management responsibilities.

Professional Management Consultant:

A management consultant who views management consulting as a profession, who strives for self-improvement in the process of both management and management consulting and who subscribes to the code of ethics of a professional body of management consulting.

Certified Management Consultant (CMC):

A professional management consultant who meets the relevant requirements of character, qualifications, experience, competence and independence established by the professional body issuing certification.

Internal Management Consultant

  • Consulting professionals who analyse and evaluate problems, make recommendations and, where appropriate, assist in implementing recommendations. They apply multi-disciplined approaches as well as specialized skills to solve problems.
  • Internal Consultants are professionals who work within the corporate structure to resolve business and technical issues confronting the organization in areas like: Quality, Information, Technology, Planning, Organization Development and Re-engineering.
  • Internal Consultants are found in government agencies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations, as well as in business and industry. Their services are focused on improving the quality, effectiveness and bottom-line performance of their organizations.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

The role of a consultant

  • A consultant is not a manager.
  • A consultant is not the owner of an organisation’s problems, needs or opportunities.
  • A consultant has no positional power to decide what needs to be changed or how it should be done.
  • A consultant can influence the direction of decision making.
  • Advisers in staff roles are consultants, for example IT, HR, Finance, Process Engineering, and Corporate Communication.
  • A consultant has special expertise to offer in a discipline or subject.

Source: Gerard van Hoek (Results-Driven Consulting Skills – KR Publishing – 9781874997934)

  • Skilled diplomat/tactician – addressing political situations and/or conflict.
  • Counsellor/devil’s advocate – being able to come up with reasons not to follow a particular path.
  • Problem analyst – being able to solve problems efficiently and effectively.
  • Technical wizard – having a specific and specialised skill which is required at the time.
  • Project manager – managing a project on behalf of the client, or simply managing the consulting project/ intervention.
  • Interim executive/contractor – being asked to fulfill a line role within the client organisation.
  • Facilitator – Workshop, learning or team facilitator.
  • Other roles - Coach, Mentor, Advisor, Expert, Strategist, Teacher …

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Question: The role of a consultant

  • A consultant is not a manager
  • A consultant can influence the direction of decision making.
  • A consultant has the absolute power to decide what needs to be changed.
Please select two options from the list that are associated with the roles of a consultant:

Different types of consulting

The Personal Assistant:

Some characteristics include:

  • The client analyses the problem and causes.
  • The client selects the appropriate actions.
  • The client instructs the consultant on what needs to be done.
  • The consultant is responsible for implementation.
  • The client evaluates the performance of the consultant.


Client to consultant: “Our inventory management is out of control. We don’t have a proper system. I need you to design and implement a system according to my list of requirements and specifications. It is important that you complete the project by the end of this month. Please keep me posted”.


The Doctor:

Some characteristics include:

  • The client has a problem that is not clearly defined.
  • The consultant conducts a study and analyses the problem.
  • The consultant submits a report to the client.
  • The client reviews the recommendations and makes a decision.
  • The consultant implements the solutions.


Doctor to client: “I need to form a clearer picture of your problem. I propose a survey, after which I will provide you with my insights. The survey will highlight what we need to do. My team and I can then implement what is required.”

The Facilitator:

Some characteristics include:

  • The client has a problem to be solved, or a need to be addressed.
  • A workshop is arranged to do problem-solving.
  • The facilitator conducts the workshop applying facilitation techniques.
  • The client group provides the content to be discussed.


Client to facilitator: “It is time for our annual ‘bosberaad’. I’d like you to facilitate us through a SWOT analysis. I’d also like the group to formulate strategic goals for the next year. What technique can we use to formulate goals?”.

The Business Partner:

Some characteristics include:

  • The client has a need.
  • The client and consultant co-explore the issue.
  • The client and consultant jointly formulate the way forward.
  • The client and consultant work and learn, in full collaboration, to implement the solutions.


Client: “Our market share is shrinking as a result of the new competitor.” 

Consultant: “Why are customers buying from the competitor?”

Client: “We are not price-competitive. Our cost-of-sales is too high.”

Consultant: “I’d really like to work with you on this. Would it add any value to you if we got a team together to identify opportunities for improvement and actions we can take now?”

Client: “Sounds good to me…”

Consultant: “We might, in our collaboration, also discover other reasons for the existing situation.”

Source: Gerard van Hoek (Results-Driven Consulting Skills – KR Publishing – 9781874997934)

Question: Different consulting roles

  • Role of the "Personal Assistant" consultant:
    The client selects the appropriate actions.
  • Role of the "Docter" consultant:
    The consultant conducts a study and analyses the problem.
  • Role of the "Facilitator" consultant:
    The consultant conducts a workshop for the client.
  • Role of the "Business Parnter" consultant:
    The client and consultant co-explore the issue.

Who is the client?

  • A client is normally a manager.
  • The manager, or client, owns the problem, need or opportunity.
  • The client has positional power to make project-related decisions.
  • The client decides whether to contract the consultant or not.
  • The client makes and owns the final decision. The consultant collaborates in the decision-making process and offers focused input or expertise.

Source: Gerard van Hoek (Results-Driven Consulting Skills – KR Publishing – 9781874997934)

Why do organisations use consultants? (1 of 2)

1. Temporary assistance

Clients frequently wish to supplement skills in their organisation by hiring trained, proven, motivated consultants on a short-term or long-term basis. Consultants may be hired on a project, seasonal or new funding basis. Clients do not have to contend with the training, instruction, and long-term commitment for salaries and fringe benefits entailed in hiring a skilled employee. Recruitment costs for a skilled employee can be considerable and cannot be justified for short-lived or cyclical needs. Consultants are independent contractors and therefore no tax deductions or fringe benefits are involved.

2. Objective review

Consultants are retained as impartial advisors without any vested interest in the outcome of the recommendations. Internal staff may not be able to see the problems or may not be sufficiently objective. A consultant can perform a competent and thorough analysis of the issues. It is easier psychologically for personnel to adapt to external advice, than the internal advice of someone who may be acting out of self-interest.

3. Selecting personnel

A client might hire a consultant for the recruitment of key executives. The consultant is looked upon as being independent and unbiased with the expertise and time to selectively screen and recommend prospective candidates.

4. Third party request for problem identification and resolution

Funders are naturally concerned about any signs of a problem that might put their investment at risk. A funder may need to know whether the problems are related to administrative, personnel, financial, market or product difficulties and how the problems can be solved. Only an outside consultant’s opinion would be credible. This could also be termed a “due diligence”.

5. Surviving a crisis

A business owner suffering from serious business problems may seek an outside consultant to investigate causes and recommend solutions.

6. Initiating change

A consultant can act as a catalyst in stimulating ideas in a highly structured organisation that otherwise might be resistant to change due to its size, bureaucracy and institutionalised nature.

7. Obtaining funding

Many non-profit organisations or Small and Medium-size businesses need assistance in obtaining grants or loans for their continued survival. They may lack the expertise, ability, or time to research the availability of funding and prepare a persuasive application. Consultants with an expertise in this area act as advisers or agents.

Source: Douglas Grey (Start and Run a Profitable Consulting Business – 2004 – ISBN: 978-0749443092)

Why do organisations use consultants? (2 of 2)

8. In-House education

Consultants are often hired to provide in-house training to keep staff informed of new management and supervisory techniques, or technical knowledge, and to address employee morale.

9. Dealing with internal difficulties

Outside consultants are retained to review and make recommendations on internal structures, such as the consolidation of departments or services, or elimination of redundant employees or executives. The consultant's report provides the rationale for making the decision. The consultant then leaves and is not affected by the decision or biased in anyway. Consultants can also be used to resolve conflicts between various levels of management and departments. The consultant plays an arbitrating, or mediating, role that permits frustrations to be expressed so energy can be directed toward constructive resolution. This does require a specific level of skill and confidentiality.

10. Delay tactics

Consultants can be hired to perform research studies which take the pressure off a company that is being exposed to public or government scrutiny. This also permits the organisation to use the excuse of a consultant's study to justify a delay in decision-making. The consultant is frequently asked to take the brunt of any media attention by being the contact person, which reduces media attention toward the organisation concerned. The consultant needs to be fully aware of the associated dangers and risks.

11. Executive assistance

An executive who is aware of his, or her, personal limitations may request that a consultant review a problem situation, provide advice on how to deal with it, and possibly follow up with implementation. Government regulations at all levels are constantly changing, and companies are frequently not prepared or trained to comply. Consultants may be retained to provide expertise to assist a company in complying economically, efficiently, and with the least amount of trauma to the organisation. This type of intervention is typically dealt with in a highly confidential nature and the consultant may be required to be “invisible” in the process.

12. Socio-economic and political changes

Socio-economic and political matters are always in a state of flux. These changes present opportunities for consultants. For example, pollution problems create a need for environmental protection experts, and fuel shortages create a need for energy conservation experts.

13. Government excess funds

Consultants benefit considerably from the expenditure of large amounts of government money. The government may be funding the private sector with the hope of stimulating the economy; there may be political reasons before an election. There may be a balance in a department's budget that is quickly spent before the end of the budget year, so as not to reduce the allotment requested by that department the following fiscal year. Governments also frequently hire consultants to assess needs and provide solutions, and to conduct in-house training.

Source: Douglas Grey (Start and Run a Profitable Consulting Business – 2004 – ISBN: 978-0749443092)

Calculate your consulting fees

As the consultant, you determine your own consulting fees. 

Please remember:

The Client shall pay Skill Indawo and Skill Indawo will make payment to you, the Consultant. 

Skill Indawo will pay the Consultant less the commission owing to Skill Indawo. 

The Skil Indawo commission is  25% of the consulting fees charged by the Consultant.

Skill Indawo can only provide you with a guide on how to calculate the cost of your services;

  • New at consulting: R500 - R1 000 per hour
  • Expert skill set with consulting experience: R1 000 - R3 000 per hour
  • Expert skill set with extensive consulting experience: R3 000 - R4 000 per hour
  • Industry leading skill set with extensive consulting experience: R 4 000 and above per hour

At the end of the day, you need to set a fee that your client is able to afford and willing to pay for your service. Thus your fees will be adjusted and determined on a case by case basis, depending on the size of company you would like to work with.

If you are really passionate about helping a particular company or project, you can even consult for free on Skill Indawo, because...

We want to DO GOOD as a company!

Please see some more resources on how to determine your consulting fees:

Key personal and professional characteristics of a consultant

Think like a consultant

You can find success in consulting by developing certain qualities. They make you more effective. After years of consulting experience, I have distilled these qualities into a top ten list.

1. Professionalism

Consultants should always keep in mind that your client relationship should remain at a professional level. It is sometimes easy for consultants to take on an “employee attitude,” which in many environments can backfire and create a negative situation for the project.

2. Time Management

Consultants should look for ways to adjust their work style to accommodate the schedule, budget and overall requirements of the project. This is particularly true when faced with pressure to maintain high quality work, within finite time and budget constraints.

3. Judgement

Consultants are required to have good judgement when confronted with a problem. We should not jump to conclusions. Consultants should take time to consider the facts and get feedback from their peers and management before reaching a decision.

4. Team Player

Consultants must demonstrate that they are team players and are willing to learn from team members, genuinely valuing the input and expertise of others. It is important to establish a collaborative relationship with peers.

5. Good Communication Skills

The consultant should have excellent oral and written communication skills. Since we are often viewed as the subject matter expert (SME), we should be able to communicate our opinions effectively. In addition to English, it is beneficial to know the language widely used by the employees of the company. In some countries, the documentation may be in a local language. Ideally, the consultant can easily read this language without employing any translators.

6. Expert Knowledge

Clients typically approach an external consultant for two reasons: 1) the client expects the consultant to have more expertise than the organisation’s internal resources or 2) because clients do not have sufficient time to solve their own problems or implement their own projects. As consultants, our level of knowledge should be broad enough to know when to ask questions and/or where to research to find solutions. At all times, the consultant should remain current by reading journals, magazines, informative websites and through networking with fellow consultants. We should know how to apply theory into practice and be skillful in using appropriate tools (software, professional journals, etc.) to work efficiently.

7. Good Listening Skills

During the consulting process, consultants will meet different people with unique characteristics. Some will be verbose, others reticent. Having excellent listening skills will encourage all to talk freely. This leads to more information sharing which, in the end, can make the consulting process more streamlined.

8. Roles and Responsibilities

It is important for consultants to understand the responsibilities of their role, as well as the practices and parameters of the job. You may notice that each client has a different take on what the role of a consultant entails. Clarifying your client’s expectations and deliverables beforehand may possibly be the single most important task one undertakes. Remember that in a consulting role, the client also has duties and responsibilities: they are bringing you in to recommend what they should implement. If they fail to implement within the agreed terms, then you can’t help them further and it’s time to walk away.

Remember, each client has his or her own preconceived view of the consultant’s abilities and capabilities—views that will almost certainly differ from reality by varying degrees. Some clients expect the consultant to be a god and recommend solutions that will fix everything that is wrong with their organisation; others expect one to be nothing more than a glorified mechanic, called in to fix the photocopiers. Clarifying what you can and cannot do, and what you are willing to do, are paramount concerns before commencing work.

9. Involve Other Consultants

Saying “I don’t know” is often a very good answer to a question. An even better answer is “I don’t know, but I know people who do know.” Consultants do not know everything, and should not be expected to know everything. Saying, “I do not know” will not damage your prestige. As an example, if your client has a problem related to legal issues, try to consult with a legal consultant to help your client find a solution to the problem.

10. Reputation

Protect your public reputation above everything else—you will not get an easy chance to repair it if it is damaged. If necessary, walk away from situations or contracts that could potentially damage your reputation. Consulting is not simply contracting by another name; it involves duties of care and levels of accountability, responsibility and integrity that may well be greater than those of the client. If that proves to be the case and you find a client’s operations and methods are not ethical, then it is time to walk away. Be selective about the clients for whom you work.

Question: Think like a consultant

  • Mister "know it all"
  • Team player
Please select a quality that is not associated with successful consulting:

The client

The role of the client

  • Many interventions have multiple clients and/or clients performing multiple roles.
  • When you are ready to begin contracting for a client, the key question is: “who is the real/ actual client?"
  • One of the ground rules of contracting is, “you cannot contract with someone who is not in the room." If there are important role-players who are not present at a contracting meeting, you cannot assume or be certain that they support the intervention until you actually meet with them.
  • Clients can be identified within four main role categories: influencer, decider, payer and implementer. Some models add a gatekeeper. The names of these roles can vary depending on the model you utilise but the concepts remain the same.
  • While any one person, or a client group, could fulfill one or all four of these role categories, it is important to distinguish which role/s you are engaging with at any time.


  • Introducer of the consultants: The Influencer is able to conceptually match what a consultant has to offer, to what is perceived to be the needs and wants of the enterprise.
  • The Influencer's role may end with this conceptualisation.
  • While an Influencer may be prepared to put forward convincing arguments in favour of a consulting intervention, the role does not necessarily extend to assuming the responsibility for it, or to being accountable for the outcome.


  • Could be an individual, however in most enterprises the decisions on consulting interventions are taken at a committee level, where responsibility and accountability are dispersed amongst committee members.
  • Courage and confidence are the hallmarks of a Decider's role, as both reputation and strategic direction are at stake when deciding on a consulting intervention.
  • The Decider (whether a committee or an individual) takes on the role of being accountable for the intervention.


  • Money, resources and time are involved in the cost of an intervention. The Payer, however, will be concerned primarily with the financial implications of an intervention.
  • No matter how convincing the need for a consulting intervention, the Payer will need to have; 1) The financial capability to pay, and 2) A reasonable understanding of the cost-benefit of the intervention.
  • It is the latter which is both most important and most frequently neglected by consultants.
  • The type of question asked by Payers is usually based on impact: "What will happen if we don't have this intervention - in financial terms."


  • Takes responsibility, but not necessarily accountability, for an intervention. All too frequently implementation is delegated to individuals and groups who have not been involved in introducing, deciding or paying for the intervention. The Implementer will need to be convinced of the benefits of the intervention and be involved in analysing, ordering and fitting the effects of an intervention into some logical and workable scenarios.
  • The successful outcome of an intervention bears a strong correlation to development of the relationship and understanding between the consultant and client. It is through the Implementer that the "transfer of technology" from consultant to client takes place.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Client development stages


Any potential client with whom contact has been initiated, by either party. Contact by mail, phone or in person - the purpose being the opportunity to introduce the consultant's products and services.


Where there is a clearly expressed match between client needs and wants and the consultant's products and services. This is the same as a qualified lead.


When a potential client specifically requests that the consultant submits a proposal or presentation. The client's request would be based on specific internal needs which match the consultant's products and services. The proposal/presentation by the consultant is required mainly for the purpose of decision-making by the client. Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

Client / Contract

The proposal matching the needs and wants to a product or service is accepted by a client who has authority to contract. There is clear authorisation to proceed with the intervention.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Client analysis matrix

The matrix provides an outline of the development of “client stage” and “client roles”combined. Analysis of the matrix enables a consultant to gauge the probability of products and services being accepted by the client and a contract being concluded. The scores (ranked 0-1.0) in each square of the matrix provide indicators of the probability of a client contract being concluded. These scores are guidelines, based on statistical research. However, it is recognised that each set of client and consultant circumstances is unique and, therefore, specific probabilities may be required in certain instances.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Question: Client analysis matrix

The scores (ranked 0-1.0) in each square of the client analysis matrix provide indicators of the probability of a client contract being concluded. The prospect of success for the consultant will be higher if the client has a score of  .

The consultant

Consulting management activities

The consultant is effectively a manager of a consulting practice, team and engagement. As a result, he/she needs to perform and/or manage a multitude of activities on a regular basis. These activities include, but are not restricted to:

  • Manage expectations.
  • Manage risk and issues.
  • Manage quality.
  • Maintain intervention continuity. 
  • Manage costs and other commercial activities.
  • Manage resources.
  • Manage productivity and performance.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Build and maintain consultant and client relationships

A consultant should be building and maintaining team and client relationships throughout the consulting lifecycle. This ensures that change is accepted with as little resistance as possible and the probability of ongoing work is enhanced. Relationships need to be managed at all levels, not just senior management and decision makers. This principle also applies to the sales cycle, when a more junior staff member could act as an influence regarding the decision as to which consultant to use.

  • An intangible service, such as consulting, is more about relations and perception management than about technical quality.
  • Relationship building takes effort and time.
  • You need to build relationships with client decision makers.
  • Maintaining & building the relationship with clients involves:

       - Understanding the client/industry (context).

       - Dealing with client management.

       - Dealing with the client culture.

       - Recognising and stating a client need (client perspective).

       - Selecting the optimum method of intervention.

       - Managing conflict.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Managing productivity and performance

The consultant needs to manage performance throughout the lifecycle. There are multiple dimensions to performance management and all need to be addressed:

  • Manage client and firm expectations regarding performance.
  • Evaluate against agreed roles, expenditure, deliverables and timeframes.
  • Reallocate resources as necessary to address deviations from the plan.
  • Identify and document training requirements.
  • Measure against client feedback.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Knowledge management, transfer and learning

The most successful consulting practices are those that manage knowledge formally;

  • Collecting data using multiple techniques.
  • Document the process and findings.
  • Learning from the client.
  • Learning from each other.
  • Transferring knowledge to the client.
  • Developing and updating methods and approaches as new things are discovered.
  • Learning from the engagement.
  • Learning from the environment or context.

Note that learning occurs throughout the lifecycle and this requires a disciplined knowledge management approach.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Professional competencies - (personal and interpersonal)

This is about acting, communicating and thinking like a management consultant…

Acting like a management consultant

This is the behavioural aspect of the consultant and has alot to do with “attitude” as competence. Remember, competence was defined as a combination of knowledge, skill and attitude.

The consultant needs to be emotionally intelligent (25 competencies -, an above average communicator, a good listener, astute, self-driven, motivated, be able to solve problems, be politically astute, and remain independent and objective in difficult situations and much more.

  • This requires an all-rounder who can perform well in different contexts.
  • Professional attitude/behaviour.
  • The provision of required professional advice.
  • Professional conduct/ethics.
  • Ability to deal with client culture and diversity.
  • Ability to motivate and develop people and lead.
  • Ability to manage conflict.
  • Ability to Facilitate, Mentor, Coach and in essence apply the required intervention at the correct time.

Communicating Effectively

  • Interpersonal and communication skills (listening/verbal/written).
  • Convincing proposals and oral presentations.
  • Marketing and selling skills.
  • Influencing and Rapport building.
  • Well-structured client communications and concise reports.


The consultant needs to be a multi-dimensional thinker, who can perform under difficult circumstances by using a variety of techniques.

  • Empathising.
  • Creativity - “out of the box thinking”.
  • Problem solving.
  • Lateral and linear thinking.
  • Seeing the end from the beginning.
  • Being able to plan for contingencies.
  • Having a flexible approach.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)


The IMC’s code of ethics adopted by Skill Indawo

Skill Indawo has adopted the code of ethics from the Institute of Management Consultants and Master Coaches of South Africa (IMCSA).

  1. Maintain a professional approach, attitude and behaviour in all our dealings with clients, the general public and fellow members.
  2. Accept assignments only for which we are qualified and where our objectivity, independence or integrity will not be impaired.
  3. Base our client recommendation on impartial observations, responsible opinion, pertinent facts and practical considerations.
  4. Ensure our anticipated benefits are obtainable and realistic.
  5. Disclose timeously to clients all financial or other interests in recommended goods or services.
  6. Ensure mutual understanding of all arrangements with clients prior to engagements.
  7. Maintain strict confidentiality of client information and never use privileged information without client permission.
  8. Refrain from inviting or receiving approaches from client's employees for employment, which could compromise client confidentiality and confidence.
  9. Accept an engagement only where there is no potential conflict of interest with one of our colleagues or where all parties are made aware in advance of the circumstances.
  10. Ensure all management consultants under our control are fully conversant with, and abide by the Code of Ethics.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Resolving ethical problems step-by-step

Resolving ethical problems step-by-step

  • Ethics is a set of principles of right conduct.
  • Ethics is a system of moral values.

Acting ethically often amounts to being able to make the correct decision, or choose the right course of action, when faced with a number of conflicting alternatives. An ethical decision must be clear and justifiable given the situation and facts on hand. In general terms, many personal ethical dilemmas can be solved by breaking down the problem into its components. This is done by asking a number of ethical questions to put the decision which must be made into perspective, so that it can be considered objectively. Some of these questions are generic and are listed below as guidelines.

There will be times when these guidelines do not address the specifics of a situation.

The following is a step-by-step approach that may help you in working through a problem of business ethics:

1. Analyse the situation

  • How did the situation occur?
  • What must be decided?
  • Who is authorised to make the decision – you or someone else?
  • What would the implications of the decision be?
  • What written instructions and rules should be consulted?
  • Does an existing procedure or policy throw light on the situation?
  • Who should be consulted?
  • What are the ethical alternatives and rationale for each?

If any of the choices requires that an ethical principle be compromised, evaluate the facts and assumptions carefully. Is there room for a compromise that would not violate your firm standards of integrity? Additionally, would another employee agree with your ethical judgement?

2. Consider the possible outcomes

  • Which outcome would be ethically preferable?
  • Who would be hurt and/or who could be helped by the decision?
  • To what extent could the persons affected be hurt? How might they be helped?
  • What alternatives would be ethically permitted?
  • Of the choices identified, select the outcome that is most aligned with your values and strongly preserves the rights of those involved.

3. Ask the following questions

  • Would I be proud to tell my family about my actions or have them made public?
  • If I were on the other side of the table, would I consider it fair?
  • Will my decision involve the contravention of a law or guideline?
  • Is the action legal?
  • Does it comply with our IMC values and code of conduct?
  • If you do it, will you feel bad?
  • How will it look in the newspaper?

1. If you know it is wrong, don’t do it!

2. If you’re not sure, ask.

3. Keep asking until you get an answer.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Consulting insights

Qualification of the opportunity involves (1 of 2)

Assess the Available Information in order to qualify the opportunity.

Use the acronym – MANREACT to assess the available information as described below:


  • oney – can they afford the fee?
  • uthority to buy
  • eed / urgency, both client and vendor
  • isk
  • ffort required by us
  • bility to implement / Approach; operational feasibility
  • ompetition / Characteristics
  • iming - what is the compelling event

MONEY/ Pricing/ Buying Power

  • Can the client afford our selected fee structure?
  • The objective is to get the job at a fair price, not giving too much away.
  • What would we need to do to match the client’s financial requirements?
  • We should not be wasting our time with inappropriate clients.


Refer back to buying role…

  • Decision-makers and roles.
  • Dealing with the ‘right’ person(s) at the ‘right’ level(s)?
  • Can they make the required decisions?
  • What is the decision-making processes and structures?

NEEDS of the prospect / client

  • Does the prospect know/ agree what is needed?
  • How clearly is the need defined?
  • Management’s view of this need
  • Differentiate between needs and wants
  • Objectives and terms of reference
  • Clearly stated deliverables. 

NEEDS of the vendor

  • What are the vendor needs for the work?
  • Availability of other work
  • For existing staff and to meet growth plans
  • Availability of required skills
  • Is it within our target sector?
  • To maintain reputation
  • To enter new fields
  • To leverage potential
  • Training potential for our staff
  • To address conflicts within the organisation

RISKS - what are the risks?

  • Of getting the work?
  • Of not getting the work?
  • What is the nature of the project:

         - Is it highly technical in nature?

         - What are our skills in this regard?

         - What is our staff attitude like?

         - What is the senior resource use and hence the             leveraging?

EFFORT of the proposal

  • Formal proposal required?
  • Existing relevant documentation.
  • Further information required?
  • Availability of our best people for proposal.
  • What is the decision / evaluation process?
  • Approximate total cost of proposal effort?
  • What is the cost / value / probability relationship?
  • Is the proposal effort worth it?

EFFORT of the project

  • Client location; cost of S&T.
  • Extent of relevant experience and subject matter knowledge? /similar field/ past project documentation?
  • Is new technology involved? 
  • Research required?
  • Do we need and have the technological skills?
  • Are associates/ subcontractors required?
  • Required project structure?

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Qualification of the opportunity involves (2 of 2)

Approach - Ability

  • What is our ability in this area?
  • Have we done this work before?
  • What approach to use?

        - Methods

        - Style 

        - Involvement 

        - Steps 

        - Proposed solution

Approach to designing the job

  • Designing the job well is often the key to:

        - Getting the job.

        - Delivering a good product. 

        - Making a profit.

  • Designing the job happens before the job is awarded, not after.
  • Designing the job is the heart of the proposal development process.


  • Types (Big firms, local/international, specialists/generalists, etc.)
  • Size, reputation and style of competition.
  • Relative strengths / weaknesses.
  • Cost / fee structures.
  • Key differentiators:

        - Bases of competition (speed, quality, price)

        - Relationships with key decision makers

        - Our areas of potential competitive advantage

        - Partnering arrangement(s)


  • How big - entire organisation, department, or even an individual?
  • Do we have other relationships with the client?
  • Where is the client located?
  • Have we done prior work?
  • What is the likelihood of public exposure?
  • Type of client organisation
  • Sophisticated/unsophisticated user
  • Reason for using consultants


  • Proposal timing, start date, due date
  • What pressure is the client under?
  • Can we do it within the time constraints?
  • What is the effect on quality?

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Proposal presentation

  • Prepare thoroughly.
  • Rehearse with the team.
  • Present the proposal, paying attention to:

      - Roles – who does what and who presents what.

      - Process/ Approach – highlight HOW you propose to address the client needs and produce the results and          deliverables required.

      - Benefits – remember the business case which highlights costs, benefits and risks.

      - Close by asking for the order.


  • Test current position vs. your sales objectives.
  • Verify your client’s buying process.
  • Plan for active participation and buy in.
  • Ensure the economic buyer is present (senior management, steering committee) –(see client roles as well).
  • Prepare sales aids and have them available for quick access.
  • Plan the meeting. Identify and answer key questions, especially the difficult ones! Identify and counter objections before they are raised.

         - Determine what the next steps are and what                decision you require from the client.

        - Ensure you are prepared to walk away having              achieved the key outcomes you are aiming for.


Rehearse and role-play the meeting.

Presentation roles

  • Consider the use of multiple presenters (expose project team and its diverse capabilities).
  • Focus on utilising individual strengths in the presentation.
  • Identify the buying roles at the client and match presenters to each one.
  • Cover bases with all buying influences and styles.

What to present

  • Present the proposal and an implementation plan.
  • Present with all buying influences and styles in mind.
  • Assess and handle issues, concerns, questions and objections as they arise.
  • Ask relevant questions of the client to confirm details e.g. scope, timing and roles.
  • Probe for concerns/objections/issues over and above those specifically raised by the client.
  • Highlight benefits and added value (business case).
  • Confirm client’s desired/required results and ensure that your presentation is aligned to these.
  • Relate your own strengths to the client requirements.


  • Close (do not negotiate fees at this stage).
  • Determine date(s) for reviews/decisions.
  • Agree next steps and responsibilities.
  • Meet later with economic buyer/s to obtain feedback and re-evaluate proposed approach if necessary.

You may not be in a position to do all of the above depending on the rules and constraints applied by the client.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Simple project v complex project

Project Initiation & Start-up Resourcing

  • Agree, start and assemble core team.
  • Announce project / assignment start.
  • Review proposal commitments.
  • Confirm staffing.
  • Confirm client involvement.
  • Develop initial charter & finalise contractual matters.
  • Agree timing.
  • Client consensus on format and data.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Report progress to the client

The client should be kept involved and in the loop. Reporting should take place on:

  • Technical matters and client feedback
  • Phase completion 
  • Any changes to project 

        - Changing rationale

        - Changing business circumstances 

        - Changing client interest/involvement

        - Changing scope and work program 

  • Prepare and collect interim invoices
  • Develop a strategy for cost variances/overruns

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Produce the final report

Final Report Structure:

1. Executive summary

2. Table of contents

3. Terms of reference

4. Background/ approach

5. Scope

6. Goals and objectives

7. Findings/ Observations

8. Implications

9. Recommendations

10. Conclusion

11. Appendices

Prepare and Deliver Interim Performance Reports and Counselling

  • Now is the time to review success, individual and team performance.
  • As stated in the section on knowledge management, the most successful consultancies are those that manage knowledge formally.
  • Part of this process includes reviewing methods, data collection instruments and client satisfaction/interaction.
  • Consultants on the project should be given feedback and be counseled whilst the project is still fresh in their minds.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Reasons why consulting projects fail and succeed

Reasons why consulting projects success

  • Senior client commitment & buy in (Strong Sponsors).
  • Clear understanding of client challenges, needs and expectations.
  • Clearly defined scope and terms of reference.
  • Clearly defined and well-executed roles and responsibilities.
  • Adoption of key account management principles and practices.
  • Rigorous project, quality and document management/integration across all project phases.
  • Balanced and focused approach to project administration and process/deliverables management (monitoring, evaluation and corrective action).
  • Overall commitment to excellence and client satisfaction/success.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Reasons why consulting projects fail

Qualification and initiation phases

  • The reason for employing consultants not clear.
  • Poor recognition of who the client is.
  • Poor understanding of the business context.
  • Anticipated outcomes and benefits not explicitly stated.
  • Poor qualification of real vs. stated/perceived needs.
  • Unrealistic or misunderstood goals, expectations and deadlines.
  • Excessive hidden agendas and political manipulation.

Planning and Execution Phases

  • Lack of a project charter/planning.
  • Lack of a kick off meeting.
  • Project stakeholders not properly identified.
  • Lack of clear role and responsibility definitions.
  • Lack of effective project planning and management.
  • Lack of continuity between sales team & consultants.
  • Usage of inexperienced consultants.
  • Usage of preconceived solutions.
  • Cross functional implications and inter-dependencies not considered (systems perspective).
  • Poor internal communication.
  • Mismatch of corporate cultures.
  • Resistance to change underestimated.
  • Poor quality management.
  • Poor monitoring, evaluation and corrective action.
  • Poor change management.

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Securing follow on work

This is also called on selling or recycling. 

Whatever it is called, it is a critical element of successful consulting, because it builds on the success of the engagement that has been completed and the relationships that have been established with the key client decision makers.

This depends on;

  • Quality of approach to current and past projects.
  • Quality of work products and management presentations.
  • Level of adherence to agreed performance levels.
  • Quality of interaction and relationships with client management and staff.
  • Commitment to client satisfaction and success

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)


Recognise and Acknowledge the Demands of Consulting

Client Management

  • Recognise clients are also human.
  • Expect surprises.

Time Management

  • Set your priorities and re-evaluate them regularly.
  • Stay organised - plan effectively.
  • Don’t overload yourself.

Health management & life balance

  • Be alert to and know how to cope with symptoms of stress.
  • Strive to maintain good health (e.g. exercise, diet, vacations etc.).

Personal and Professional Development

  • Stay current in your area(s) of expertise.
  • View mistakes as learning experiences.
  • Learn and benefit from the experience of others.
  • Ask for help when you need it (teamwork).

Source: Angelo Kehayas (Principles of professional consulting – ProfWeb 2015)

Additional resources

Here are some great additional free resources

Final thoughts

Final thoughts

Most important take outs from this course:

  • You will need to educate the client on how the system works.
  • Stay up to date with the latest theoretical models and thinking
  • As Skill Indawo, we would like you to pledge 10 hours of free consulting to a business of your choice every year. We are not going to track it, but in addition to the consulting work you will be doing through Skill Indawo,  we need you to assist businesses that cannot afford your much-needed support.
  • And more importantly: We want to DO GOOD!