Consultants and their clients view their relationship differently. Whereas consultants may view "relationship building" and achieving "trusting, warm, equal, experimental and open relationships" as the most important part of client-consultant relationships, clients' overriding concerns were that consultants should be aware of practicalities, use time effectively, remain objective and give value for money.
In a UK study of management consulting, clients reported that in less than one in three cases did they feel confidence in the consultant's expertise to manage change.
Consultants and clients should place more emphasis on clarifying what they want to achieve and the type of working relationship they will have. Clear aims and objectives for the consultancy project should be established at the outset. There should always be a clear contract and, given the pressure on consultants to win contracts, clients should check relevant experience of the consultant. Both sides should be clear about whether the consultant is expected to provide expert advice or to adopt a counselling role.