Confessions of a 40-Year Consultant: Lessons Learned and Paths Forward

Confessions of a 40-Year Consultant: Lessons Learned and Paths Forward

Date: March 1, 2024


In the realm of business consultancy and coaching, the journey is often marked by victories, but equally by stumbles and revelations. Leigh Farnell, host of “Leading Your Best Life,” offers a candid reflection on his four-decade-long career, unraveling the pivotal moments of failure and the invaluable lessons they imparted. Join us as we delve into the confessions of a seasoned consultant and unearth actionable insights for navigating the turbulent seas of business leadership.

Senior Management Involvement: The Keystone of Success

Farnell’s first confession revolves around a fundamental principle: the indispensable role of senior management in driving organizational change. Drawing from his experiences, he underscores the detrimental impact of insufficient leadership involvement in transformational initiatives. Leaders must not merely endorse change from afar but actively participate in workshops, embodying the ethos of change they seek to instill. Farnell’s admonition rings clear: without senior management engagement, the seeds of change wither, and the promise of transformation remains unfulfilled.

Action Point:

For leaders and change agents alike, prioritize senior management involvement as a non-negotiable cornerstone of change initiatives. Cultivate a culture of active leadership participation in workshops and training sessions, fostering alignment, accountability, and momentum for change. Remember, leadership by example is not a luxury but a prerequisite for organizational success.

Integrity in Program Design: Resisting the Temptation to Cut Corners

The second confession delves into the perilous temptation of “cutting and pasting” from the menu of business development programs, compromising the integrity of change initiatives. Farnell’s revelation serves as a cautionary tale against diluting comprehensive program designs to appease executive preferences. He emphasizes the importance of advocating for holistic solutions, resisting the allure of piecemeal interventions that undermine the efficacy of change efforts.

Action Point:

Champion the integrity of change programs by advocating for comprehensive, tailored solutions that address organizational needs holistically. Engage stakeholders in collaborative dialogue to co-create initiatives aligned with strategic objectives and grounded in best practices. Uphold a steadfast commitment to program integrity, safeguarding against the pitfalls of shortcut-driven approaches that compromise long-term success.

The Imperative of Sales Coaching: Nurturing a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Farnell’s final confession sheds light on the pivotal role of sales coaching in fostering organizational excellence. He underscores the critical need for senior managers and sales leaders to transcend traditional managerial roles and embrace the mantle of sales coaches. Through targeted coaching and support, leaders empower teams to hone their skills, navigate challenges, and achieve peak performance. Farnell’s revelation serves as a clarion call for leaders to invest in cultivating a culture of continuous improvement, where coaching becomes synonymous with leadership excellence.

Action Point:

Elevate the role of sales coaching as a linchpin of organizational success, equipping leaders with the tools and skills to coach teams effectively. Prioritize training and development initiatives that equip leaders with coaching competencies, fostering a culture of feedback, learning, and growth. Embrace a holistic approach to coaching that encompasses skill development, mindset shifts, and ongoing support, catalyzing transformative change and driving sustained performance.


In the tapestry of leadership, failures are not blemishes but invaluable threads that weave the fabric of growth and resilience. Leigh Farnell’s confessions offer a poignant reminder of the transformative power of introspection, humility, and continuous learning in the journey of leadership and consultancy. As we navigate the complexities of business leadership, let us heed these lessons, embrace our failures as stepping stones to success, and forge ahead with renewed resolve to lead our best lives and businesses.