Here is my take, as a consultant, on the five areas to look for with a comment on "being wary."
- Domain expertise - Has the consultant effectively focused their calling and craft? Be wary of consultants who offer too many services. Be listening for the ability to recommend people from related but different fields.
- Experience breadth - Does their portfolio of experiences create the value you are seeking? Be wary of consultants with limited experience: part time? years of experience? working with only declining churches? working in a denominational bubble? leveraging experience from one church?
- Inquisitive disposition - Are they willing to really understand your unique culture situation? Be wary of big brief cases and power point presentations. Don't even listen to solutions before questions. In the first two hours, if they talked more than they listened DO NOT hire them.
- Compelling approach - Is there a systematic process for defining problems and communicating solutions? Be wary of consultants that CAN'T articulate a defined approach that makes sense. Listen for the story behind how the approach was developed.
- Willing spirit - Do they really want to work with you or are they just making a buck? Be wary of consultants that leverage themselves across too many clients or with junior team members. Listen for energy level and eagerness despite their credentials.