How an Established Counselor Can Add Consulting to a Practice

female consultantSo you’ve got a private practice. It’s been going well for years. You show up, you go home, everything flows. Maybe it is just you, maybe you have other counselors.

So, why add consulting to your practice? Why rock the boat?

As I meet with future consultants, they often fall into three traps:

  1. The I’m Not Good Enough Trap
  2. The Everything is Great Trap
  3. The I Don’t Know How to Market Myself Trap

Clearly, if we can overcome these traps and embrace their inverse, we’ll see that each of us has an untapped consultant within us.

 I’m Not Good Enough

When I first started consulting, I felt like my 8th grade self. I wanted to be Michael Jordan, but I had very little natural basketball talent, drive, and got really nervous whenever I actually got on the court.

Business people were scary. They were the rich and cool kids. They were the ones to impress. They had “made it.” Even though I was successful in private practice, I still felt a stigma that counseling was somehow below other businesses.

Counselors actually have almost every skill needed to be successful in consulting:

  • Listening to discover pain.
  • Helping the client to “uncover” solutions that the counselor already has.
  • Creating plans and objectives for change.
  • Being able to summarize and synthesize complex situations.
  • Building emotional connections one-on-one.

So let’s just agree: most counselors would make amazing consultants, if they believed they had something to contribute.

 Everything is Great

Anthony Robbins said, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Consulting is one of the most mind-stimulating, creative, and exciting things that one can do. Much like counseling, there are always problems to solve, efficiencies to discover, and methods to unveil.

I believe that each one of us should push toward our highest potential for our own self-worth, our families, and the world. If we grow and discover more, we will contribute in a greater manner.

As you uncover that everything is indeed “great,” yet, you may also be able to grow that greatness, you’ll want to explore how to highlight your skill set to the world!

 Don’t Have The Marketing Skills

In a sense I addressed this, but there is more to it. We may have the skills, but how do we go articulate what we offer?

I learned an exercise from Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing. This exercise helps many of my future-consulting clients:

  • What is a huge dream you have? It can be in business or life. Example: Own a lake house.
  • What is one thing you can do in the next five years to move toward that dream? Example: Save $200,000.
  • What is one thing you can do in the next year to move toward that five-year goal? Example: Double my income and savings.
  • What is one thing you can do in the next month to move toward that one-year goal? Example: Increase my overall hourly rate.
  • What is one thing you can do in the next week to move toward your one-month goal? Example: Explore areas that I could do consulting that would also pay me higher than my counseling rate.
  • What is one thing you can do today to move toward your one-week goal? Example: Explore what consultants are doing currently in my town and ask five of them out for lunch.

Since we counselors are usually folks that do well in individual meetings or small groups, let’s play to that strength. Don’t go to huge networking events if you aren’t at your best there. Don’t try to be a public speaker if you’re better as small conversations.

Instead, push yourself to find how to be the most authentic you!

 Then What?

So you’ve moved past the three traps, you know that you are good enough, you know that you are doing great but still want to improve, and you are discovering that you can market yourself. Now what?

First, make sure you know the basics of becoming a consultant: see my previous articles on how to Grow a Specialty, Grow an Audience, and Grow an Income. Next, brainstorm your skills and break them down into pains that they can help.

  •  If you’re good at crisis management: Reducing HR liability or increasing customer service might be options.
  • If you’re good at reading body language: Teaching how to recognize when are customers upset, or how to know if s/he likes me would be good choices.
  • If you’re good at pushing people toward their best: Top executive consulting or business consulting that focuses on achievement might be best.

As a counselor, we all need to grow. Through pushing ourselves toward becoming a consultant we learn exactly why we need to rock the boat, and we need to rock it now!

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How an Established Counselor Can Add Consulting to a Practice

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

Joseph Sanok

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC teaches consultants how to become better consultants through his website Joe also helps counselors with growing private practices through his website He also loves sailing and playing with his two daughters.


APA Reference
Sanok, J. (2015). How an Established Counselor Can Add Consulting to a Practice. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 3 Mar 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Mar 2015
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