Updated: Feb 7, 2022
If you are like most private practice owners, then you have probably come to the conclusion that seeking guidance from a practice consultant is the direction you're choosing to go in. Coming to that conclusion may have been a hard decision to make. To help lessen the stress of hiring a consultant here are a few tips to follow to make sure you're choosing the practice consultant that is best suited for your needs.
Experience- When looking into if a consultant has the right experience for you be sure to ask the following questions:
Does the consultant have business consulting experience or practice consulting experience?
Does the consultant understand the basic knowledge of running a practice?
Does the consultant have knowledge in the mental health field?
Not just any consultant will be the best fit for you. The most important part of picking a consultant is knowing if they have direct practice experience. This will ensure that you are being led in the right direction.
Approach-As a therapist, you know that your approach really matters. If you feel that the consultant you are choosing does not have a clear approach or has one that you do not feel comfortable with, it might not work.
Consulting isn’t just someone telling you what you need to do to succeed. A relationship is formed between you and your consultant, making it easy for you to trust that your consultant is leading you and your practice in the best direction.
It is very similar to the relationships you strive to create with your own clients. If you both have the same values and point of view it will yield a better outcome.
Financial obligations- Receiving consulting services is a large financial responsibility.
Just like therapy, it is not one session and done. Oftentimes it takes months of weekly sessions and then usually starts to become once a month check-ins.
However, there is a clear return on the investment of hiring a consultant for your practice. It is a business expense, so keep that in mind when you are looking into the cost of services.
Flexibility- You are a practice owner and your time is valuable.
Different consultants work in different ways. Finding a consultant that is flexible will make sure that your consulting sessions do not feel like they are holding you up.
For example, my sessions are 45 minutes long. I always tell my clients to book an hour so that they can take 15 minutes after each session to reflect. This seems to work with most therapists' schedules. However, if we needed to have 30 minutes sessions instead then I would also make that happen.
The point is, if you encounter a consultant that says "I like to put all of the sessions together and get it out of the way," then you may come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t work with your schedule. Not every consultant will be the perfect fit so take the time to make the choice.