From Manager to Consultant – My Journey So Far


As an experienced project manager I have an intuitive understanding of what it means to manage projects, what the expectations are of both my own and the customer’s organisation, how to handle the changes and uncertainties that arise within the role, and what success looks like.  To a large extent, these are the characteristics that make me well suited to helping others become better Project Managers through training and consultancy, but they can’t prepare me for the role itself.

As an ‘inexperienced’ L&D consultant (having only joined the team in August 2016), I have a much less intuitive understanding of the expectations of the role and how to handle the many new and unfamiliar situations that will inevitably appear as I grow into the role.

So what does the journey look like for me to be able to say the same about being an L&D consultant as I can about being a Project Manager?

  1. I need to know that I haven’t suddenly become ‘incompetent’ just because I have changed role!  The reason I was recruited to the role I am now in is precisely because of my competence, I just need to learn to redirect it to achieve a different set of objectives.
  2. I have a lot of learning to do.  I would be naïve to think that I could simply start operating as an L&D Consultant without going through a learning curve, so being deliberate and intentional about what I need to learn and who I learn it from becomes vital to being a success.
  3. Experience only comes from doing, so I need to jump in with both feet!  If I wait for the knowledge and skills I need I will be waiting a long time, so the quicker I start ‘doing’ the sooner I will begin to add value.
  4. I bring something to the role that no-one else can.  My value as a consultant doesn’t come through learning how others have done it, but from me being me.  I will no doubt stir the waters a bit because I do things differently, but that’s who I am and that’s what clients will be paying for.

In the words of Dr Seuss:  “Today you are you that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is more youer than you.”  By being the me-est me that I can be I will become the consultant I was meant to be.

Chris Johnston

Chris Johnston is a Project Management L&D Consultant with many years’ practical experience in a variety of PM and management roles, to find out more about Chris’ experience and areas of expertise view his profile here.