One of the more popular consulting professions to emerge in the nineties is Leadership Development. Since this profession is still in its infancy, there are no established standards or credentials needed to become one. You do, of course have to know how to be a managerial leader and know what works when and where etc.
How did the Leadership Development Consultants, already established in their profession, get all their expertise? Originally, (during the eighties and early nineties) a good, energetic manager in a large corporation was given instruction in leadership skills when it became evident that good leaders were needed in every area of business. People were no longer content to be managed, employees wanted to be a part of a team and be able to receive direction from a team leader. When the managerial leaders learned enough about good leadership and how it benefits all aspects of business, they went out on their own, called a target market group, and offered their services as a Leadership Development Consultant.
Today leadership skills are taught in colleges and business schools throughout the United States. Check-in your area and see what’s offered. Leadership theory and practices aren’t the only qualifications, however.
In order to become a Leadership Development Consultant you have to acquire good communication skills, self-confidence and have an innate desire to want to help others develop their leadership skills for the good of their business.
Communication skills are so important; I suggest you include it in you studies if you choose to go that route. A good leader is a good listener. You can motivate people to be the best that they can be, to take initiative, to solve business (or any) problems constructively without first listening to what they have to say. Only then can you motivate them. If a classroom setting isn’t an option for you, look into an on- line course or at the very least read a few texts on communication skills.
As for self-confidence, you have to believe in your self, in your ability to assist others before you can even start this career. The fact that you are considering this profession shows that you do have at least some confidence in yourself. You just have to develop it as you study and practice leadership skills. Remember a good leader is comfortable with who they are and have a deep desire to help others attain the skills necessary for them to be confident in their actions. A lack of self-confidence will show right away. So, before you attempt to lead others, look into yourself. Develop the qualities necessary in yourself and make this a continuous process, then you’ll be one step closer to becoming a leadership development consultant.
The actual leadership skills you need vary. Each business, each individual, each team is a unique entity. While the basics are constant, they will have to be presented in various ways. You will have to be extremely alert when you meet your client for the first time in order to plan what leadership development route to take. This, of course, requires proficiency in your field.
Lastly, even though there are no established standards, as yet, set up for this profession, if you choose to take courses in leadership, when you complete your courses you should apply for an entry-level position in one of the new Leadership or Coaching consultant firms in your area. A year or two with a reputable firm will give you the experience necessary to be good at this.