Change Manager vs Change Consultant: What's the difference?

career change change consultant change management May 12, 2024
Lata in a black and green top smiling; text: change manager vs change consultant

Ever since I became a Change Consultant, I’ve had people curious about what it is I do and how it’s different to working or contracting as a Change Manager. Here’s the difference between the two.


Change Managers:

If you're a Permanent / Fixed Term or Day Rate Contractor working in Change Management, you're essentially an employee and you'll usually have set days, set pay, and be paid in arrears (after you've worked the time). I go through all of this in more detail in my Intro to Change Management webinar.

The benefit to the Project or Business Leader is that they can build out a team, get a guaranteed workforce sitting ready and waiting, manage their budget better with the types of salaries and day rates offered in the employment market, and retain capability in the organisation if the person stays long-term or rolls their contract.

But the costs to a Project or Business Leader can be that they're stuck paying people even when project work dries up, that they get coasters in their team who don't want to DO any actual work or add real practical fit-for-purpose value (and it's actually pretty hard to lay people off in Australia... performance management or redundancy, take your pick), and in the case of contractors - they move on and take their amazing Change skills with them (though sometimes even contractors aren't the cream of the crop...).

Which brings us to independent Change Consultants:

Independent Change Consultants:

As a self-employed consultant you can create your own packages and prices, work to your own schedule, decide if you want to bill some of your work upfront or afterwards, charge rates in line with the consulting market (rather than the employment market), and lift yourself out of the office politics and endless project meetings to work with multiple clients and have broader impact. 


For clients, this works because they get someone super experienced and expert who can deliver high quality at speed, with higher pay but for short bursts or outcome-based packages, and they get an external trusted advisor who sits outside the business who can influence into the Board, C-Suite, and Senior Leadership, provide alternative viewpoints and approaches, and support and coach the client as a leader leading change. Plus - what I personally love to do, which is build Change Capability for them and their teams and leave that valuable skill in their organisation.

The biggest challenge with independent Change Consultants like me is that we're so good that we're super busy. So if leaders want our help, they need to engage us early on.

It’s been almost 3 years since I moved from day rate contracting in Change Management to becoming an independent consultant in Change Leadership - and I’ve never looked back! My life and lifestyle have completely transformed, with the ability to own my own time and the flexibility and flow of my day in ways that I never thought possible. And also that I never knew I needed, since experiencing endometriosis for the last few years.


And the flexibility and flow doesn’t stop in my week - because I work for myself, I plan out my annual launch calendar and client services in line with major breaks in the year. As a Change Consultant, well as usually taking off 1-2 half-days per week, public holidays and long weekends, I spend 1-2 months a year chilling at the beach or heading overseas.


And the most interesting thing? As an independent consultant, I charge triple what I earned as a day rate contractor, help a variety of clients and students from across the world, and work flexibly and fluidly through the week with my general hours 10am-4pm, in line with my health and my energy and my values of enjoying my life. It all started because I decided to shift to being a Change Consultant, working for myself in my own business.

Lata xx


P.S. We’ll be talking about this and more in free Change Advisor Bootcamp next week and I’ll be sharing my expert consulting secrets to get a seat at the table, build strong relationships, and lead complex change to success.


CLICK HERE to register for my free Change Advisor Bootcamp next week


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