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Soft Skills for Technical Professionals


Data is the new black.
Analytics is the future.
The technology professional, data analysts, researchers and insight manufacturers have the keys to the kingdom of marketing and business success.
Unfortunately they aren’t always as smart with people as they are with data. And if you want to leverage those insights, you’ll need to give them the skills to set and forget people, create relationships so their clients and business partners can more quickly say “but that’s just Jon” (or Dilip or Umair or Jen).
This program has been successfully implemented with “clevers” in a major bank, and perfected over a decade.

Take action now to get help for your team:
  • pick up the phone to speak to Cindy: +61 412 135 426
  • or fill in the contact form here 
  • or click here to make a 10 minute appointment with Cindy to see if you and your team qualify to work together.
Read testimonials on Cindy's work here.

The key training programs centre on the “softer” skills of consulting, include:

Questions to ask your training provider

I sell training programs more often than you buy them, so here are some criteria you may want to consider when you choose a training provider.
  1. Who is delivering the program? Is the designer the same person as the deliverer? If not, how do they adjust delivery based on the responses in the room? (Watch out for the bait and switch!). 
  2. What are the designer and the deliverer’s level of experience with data analysts? 
  3. Are they generic or specific soft skills trainers? 
  4. Do your know people who know and trust them to deliver this kind of work? 
  5. Is the program set up to suit your needs, or theirs? 
  6. Are they data people who train occasionally, or professional trainers? 
Here are my answers to those questions.

I own the training process end-to-end – the designer delivers

I research, design and the deliver the program myself.
That means that the program benefits from iterative improvement. The diagram on the previous page shows the behind-the-scenes process of design. It has built-in learning loops so I’m always presenting what works for this cohort.
Each module is designed after surveys, interviews and with reference to what worked in previous modules. Customisations on the ground are relevant, personalised and useful.


30 years consulting, 24 years training, more than ten years working specifically with Data Analysts

I have been training and facilitating since 1994. Consulting since 1986.
My first experience with data analysts was at Commonwealth Bank in 2004 when Tracy Conlan was EGM. I worked with 2 other EGMs (Elizabeth Moore, Geoff Kerry) and their data analysts over the next 10 years.
I still have strong ties there, and with ex-CBA data analysts now in other places.

I specialise in soft skills for technical professionals

My soft skills programs are specific to technical specialists and consultants. When i had less experience I delivered generic soft skills training in banks, insurance companies and manufacturing plants, but since 1999 when I wrote my first book for consultants I’ve specialised in smart consulting professionals.
All of my clients in recent years are in the technical and consulting space (TripAdvisor, Telstra, Suncorp, Fujitsu, Business Minds, A2 Consulting).

Your ex-boss, mentor or client knows and trust me

Because data analytics is a small world, I can furnish you with referees who are probably people you know: your clients, your mentors, your ex-bosses. Talk to me and we’ll see who we have in common already.

Modular for your convenience and outside client hours so you can get stuff done

Behavioural change is the point of training. While you may have compliance reasons to commission training, the point is to improve how you deliver to your client, manage your analysts and on-sell work.
While a one or two day training is convenient for the training company, a modular training gives you a better chance at changing behaviour. That’s better for your business and for your consultants.
I can deliver at times that work for you: after 4pm, on weekends, even at breakfast time so that your consultants continue to get work done.

Trained professional trainer who can improvise with real-world examples

I spent 2 years in classrooms undergoing training as an NLP-trained trainer. I have the requisite Certificate IV, but that’s not enough to work effecrtively with your smart group.
I’m conversant with more than 20 different “learning styles”, can diagnose them and shift my delivery based on what I’m receiving in coaching and training.
Because I’ve been doing this with real data analysts in real work environments for so long, and because I improvise as a hobby, I’m skilled at finding relevant examples, trying a new way to catch and keep attention, as well as making sure the training meets the emotional and rational needs of the audience.
I also have post grad qualifications in Linguistics from Paris, a First-Class Honours degree from Sydney University and quals in MBTI, DiSC, Brain Map. I’m an accredited NLP Master Trainer (that means I can train trainers to train people to train others in NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner programs). It’s the Grand-daddy of NLP qualifications. I did my NLP in Sydney and in Copenhagen.

Consulting Internally: Cindy Tonkin, the Consultants' Consultant

Cindy Tonkin is the Consultants' Consultant.
She specialises in helping specialist internal consulting teams (analysts, researchers, organisational development, finance and human resources specialists) satisfy their customers and make sure their expertise is heard.
Cindy Tonkin

In her 20 year career, Cindy has built successful internal consulting teams for:
  • Commonwealth Bank Research and Analytics (8 years)
  • Commonwealth Bank Project Central (3rd project for the commissioning client)
  • RTA of NSW Change Management team (2 year project, fifth for the commissioning client)
  • Workplace Australia Group Trainers (2 year project)
  • a2 Consulting (2 years)
She has provided intensive consulting skills programs for St George Bank Organisational Development, SAP, SGI, PMSC, Morgan and Banks, a2 Consulting, Abbott Chemicals, NSW Police Force Corporate Services and Shared Services, Colonial Superannuation project managers, Toyota Financial Services Customer Sales, Travel Together and IBM Learning.
Read what her clients say about her here.

You can buy Cindy's services as a trainer or as a small group or individual coach for consultants in need of professional development.
Her three key training programs centre on the “softer” skills of consulting, including:
Or customised programs based on your needs.

Call Cindy Tonkin now: +61 412 135 426; make an appointment for her to call you or click here to email her.

Links for Internal Consulting

Here are some links for Internal Consultants:
Discover needs, Sell
Solutions and
Manage workload. 

Articles on:
Templates for:
A Management and Training Glossary

Are you falling into the trap of the Ability Myth? Download the free sample including the introduction to my second book, Consulting Mastery: The Ability Myth: why being good is not enough  and find out.

Many of the other useful ideas are hidden amongst my blog posts: Visit my blog: Political Acumen: Practical Solutions to People Problems and look for interesting topics in the right hand column (for example: Influence, Neurological insights, Creativity, Innovation, Memory and People Types).

You can sign up to my Newsletter here.


Image: (C) 2008 Cindy Tonkin Bridge over the Chicago River



Saying no Nicely: Managing Expectations for Internal Consultants


Internal Consultants have a difficult time of it: internal customers can perceive them as a bottomless resource and can make endless demands.
Internal Consultants are a scarce
and valuable resource. Knowing how
say "no" to the right things is important

When your Internal Consultancy has limited resources, it can be difficult for the people on the ground to please everyone. And just as difficult to meet your strategic objectives.

Saying No Nicely, the Training program, was developed for a 20 Internal Consultancy managers to give them ways to manage client expectations and make the client feel good about it. It's making no sound like a yes, making clients feel heard, but still achieving strategic objectives.

If you're keen to understand how, please just call Cindy now on +61 412 135 426, or email her.

Managing Clever Teams



It has been said that managing consultants is like herding cats. Managing teams of clever people is tough. Teaching them to manage others presents even more challenges.
Cindy has designed a program training clever data analysts to manage their staff, their customers and more importantly, their bosses more effectively. Not only did the internal measures of customer service and team satisfaction improved, the participants enjoyed the program and begged for more. Bosses found they were happier too.

If you're keen to understand how, please just call Cindy now on +61 412 135 426, or email.


Just for Fun: Try this link giving the script and video from an EDS advertisement about herding cats. Or click on the embedded video below.

Interesting Reading on Managing Clevers: Clever: leading your smartest, most creative people

Customised Programs
Have a particular consulting challenge with your team?
Call Cindy and we'll work together to create ways you can tackle it.
Solutions may be training, coaching or even systems based. Here is a list of skills for consultants Cindy has compiled over more than 20 years which may help you pinpoint what you want.
Please call Cindy now on +61 412 135 426, or email.

Cindy Tonkin is the Consultants' Consultant She specialises in helping specialist internal consulting teams (analysts, researchers, organisational development, finance and human resources specialists) satisfy their customers and make sure their expertise is heard.

Telling Stories to Make Change


Stories can make change.
Find out how with an
ternal Consulting Program.
Sometimes you want to engage and motivate your consulting team and still deliver a clear business message.


Telling Stories to Make Change combines techniques like story-telling and improvisation games to achieve your goals for your team: bonding, strategic goal setting, cultural awareness, customer focus, you name it.

Customised with you to make sure you get what you need.

If you're keen to understand how, please just call Cindy now on +61 412 135 426, or email.