Some people ask me 'who was the first real management consultant?' Researchers and gurus have long argued the point but I agree with Hugh Small at A.T. Kearney. It was Florence Nightingale - the English nurse who founded the nursing profession in the UK. Small concludes that her evidence-based approach, independence, work ethic and fearless challenging of those who thought they knew everything qualifies her for this position. She also asked a lot of questions which is key to good consulatancy and coaching - www.coaching-coaches.com
He thinks that she should be held up as a model for modern consultants in many other fields but particularly management. So when someone from a top consultancy arrives at your door in the enlightened company you work for carrying a lamp and wearing a tunic it is not that he (or she) has come to free your organization of infection (of whatever kind). He (or she) is just working on improving their image and taking inspiration from the founding mother of the profession!! When coaching executives I love to use this example.