When i tell people that i am a Certified Image Consultant, the first reaction i get is a look of awe...which then turns into a look of puzzlement, which then is quickly followed with the following question: "So you are a fashion stylist? Makeup artist? Beauty Consultant?". To which i shake my head in the negative for all of the above.
What exactly is an Image Consultant? To cut a long story short, i work with individuals in a personal or professional capacity to empower them with the knowledge to feel secure in their own abilities to influence others to seeing them for who they really are- highly sought after individuals who are unique and have the ability to confidently look totally awesome yet natural and comfortable in their own skin, who can communicate effectively orally and without having to utter a single word and who can demonstrate their personal and professional integirty through their behaviour, ethics and skills. Well, that was certianly a mouthful!
Truly, we Image Consultants who are certified are a force to be reckoned with globally and in a competitive market. We help shape an individual's or corporate entity's brand. We help people feel confident in themselves and feel confident in the capabilities of those whom they come into contact with. When we train, we don't just train or coach you to excel in one area, we help you excel in all areas of appearance, behaviour and communication. We work with an individual on a personal level and we can also work with individuals/organisations/associations/ company in a professional or corporate level from the CEO all the way to back-end staff. We are equally comfortable to work with grooming upcoming talents, models, in the fashion industry, makeup artistry, hijab styling, television and many other industries.
No longer are Image Consultants to be relegated to the back end of soft skills training. Image training, corporate grooming and etiquette is now a much sought after skill when it comes to an upgrade in skills training. It is only natural therefore that everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and call themselves an Image Consultant and everyone is sent scrambling to look for an Image Consultant either for personal coaching or corporate training purposes.
Companies or Individuals Looking to Hire an Image Consultant
For individuals or companies looking to engage a consultant, these are the factors that should be considered:
1) Ask for a copy of their certificates.
These will normally tell you where the consultant has undergone their core competency training and whether the centre or trainer that they have undergone their training with is reputable and is regulated by an Association or Society or is validated and recognised by the Malaysian government. When a consultant is certified by an education provider that is listed in an Association's list of training centres or CEU provider, you can be certain that they have been trained in accordance to the highest standards set by the regulating body. When a consultant carries a certificate from Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran (JPK), Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia it means that their certificate is recognised by the Malaysian government and you know that you are getting the real deal- an individual who has a legitimate certificate who has studied at a centre that is accredited and regulated by the Malaysian government.
2) Ask if they are a member of an Association and do your due dilligence or homework.
An Image Consultant who is a member of an Association is more likely to be bound by the Association's rules on professional ethics and be someone who is required to upgrade their skills and knowledge by attending education conferences and programmes that carry Continued Education Units (CEUs). You can also ask them for a copy or transcript of this as evidence.
An Image Consultant who is recognised internationally by way of certification by the Association (for example, a Certified Member of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) will either carry the letters AICI FLC, AICI CIP or AICI CIM behind their name) will more likely be an individual who can be trusted to train you or your company to the highest standards commanded by the industry as they have been required to undergo hours of rigorous training, show professional development and experience, leadership skills or membership participation, undergo upgrades in education and skills by attendance at Conference or programmes that carry CEUs. They are recognised as the most credible within their industry and thereofre accorded that respect.
3) Consider your budget
Obviously everyone has a budget that they have in mind but please do not attempt to squeeze your proposed Image Consultant by tying to undercut their rates. PSMB/ HRDF stipulates via their circulars that a trainer who has registered with them will be able to realistically charge a maximum of up to RM4,500 per day which is the amount companies can claim for their training expenses.
A Certified Image Consultant who is recognised by the Malaysian government will have the necessary certificates (Diploma Kemahiran Malaysia/ Malaysian Skills Diploma (Level 4) or Diploma Lanjutan Kemahiran Malaysia/ Malaysian Skills Advanced Diploma (Level 5- equivalent to a Bachelor's degree)) and experience thereby being recognised by the Malaysian government as a highly skilled professional. A Certified Image Consultant who is additionally internationally recognised by way of certification by an Association will also have the relevant paperwork and additional experience.
What this essentially means is that companies can reasonably expect a quote of RM2,000- RM2,500 per day from a freshly trained consultant, RM 2,500- RM3, 500 per day from a mid experienced consultant and anything from RM4,500 and above from a senior level consultant. for private individuals, expect a quote of anything from RM150 per hour from a freshly trained consultant, RM250 per hour from a mid experienced consultant and RM350 and above per hour from a senior level consultant.
Please also understand that the consultant is not supposed to bear the cost of photocopying notes or other ancillary administrative fees. If the consultant works with a team, normally they share the nett portion of their lump sum fees with the other trainers in their team and distribute the fees accordingly.
4) Do we give discounts?
Certified consultants should not be asked to give a discount unless it is to a client of long standing relationship and certainly do not do anything FOC (free of charge) unless you are willing to throw in some perks that will be equivalent in terms of monetary value to our usual fees. At least offer to pay an honorarium.
When you graduate from university and are offered a job, you are usually asked what your expected salary will be. At interview, this is usually discussed by the candidate giving their reasonably expected salary and the prospective employer providing a realistic figure which is usually the salary that can be expected of a skilled individual working at a determined level of seniority for their relevant industry. The prospective employer neve rever says to the candidate, "Well, we are considering many other candidates and will be employing the candidate who gives us the lowest expected salary or is willing to give us a discount". This is because the employer knows that they are responsible for paying salary at the accepted industry rates and will be expecting to pay for a highly skilled individual that they want to employ as paying peanuts to hire an employee will mean a) that employee will turn down their offer and look for a prospective employer that will appreciate their skill and worth, b) the emplyee will take the job until something better comes along or c) the company will be hiring monkeys.
The same can be said when "shopping" around for a consultant or trainer. So please do not call or meet with a certified consultant by using the following line, "We are currently considering other trainers so how much of a discount can we expect?" or "Can you do your talk for free?".
They are not individuals from the Multi-Level Marketing or Direct Selling industries.
Aspiring Image Consultants
For aspiring Image Consultants looking for a place to train and qualify, what questions should you be asking when it comes to signing up for a Certified Image Consultant's Training Course? This is the penultimate question that i am always called on to answer. So here are a list of questions that i have put together that i personally feel should be the determining factor. This list is by no means exhaustive but it is a good place to start:
a) If the Training Centre or Provider offers locally certified training, is the centre an Accredited Training Centre (Pusat Bertauliah)?
b) If the Training Centre or Provider offers internationally certified training, is the Centre/ Provider registered or listed under an internationally recognised Association or Society as an Approved Trainer or Approved CEU Provider and does the training carry Continued Education Units?
c) Is the Trainer qualified to train the course on offer? Ask for a letter of evidence.
d) What is your budget?
If your dream is to train with a Master Trainer from another country, then make sure that you have sufficient funds to do so. International Trainers do not take deposits but expect full payment of fees upon registration (which is normally in USD) and expect you to make your own arrangments for flights, accommodation and food expenses.
If you do not have the budget to do so, consider other nearby countries to train or a local centre in your own country. This may also be beneficial to you and your career development as there would be the added knowledge of how to adapt age old accepted international principles to your country's values, way of life and the way people in your country do business.
e) Are you comfortable with the Trainer and his/her reputation? Contact the Trainer or his/her representative and start building a relationship with them. Do they help you and offer you satisfactory advice? Do they truly make you comfortable or does something seem to be missing? Do they offer mentorship/ followup programmes as part of their services?
Ultimately, it does not matter where you train or whom you choose as your Master Trainer. It is also a good idea throughout your career development as a Certified Image Consultant to train with as many Master Trainers as possible and i certainly urge you to grab the chance to do so. What is important is to make sure that your certificate is valid and recognised so that you may command the fees that is expected of an individual with your level of skills and expertise. Otherwise, you would have spent a bucket load of money and find yourself being questioned and/or, end up having to work for peanuts and wrecking the growth and development of the industry and also its standards. It is time that we couple working hard with working smart.
I hope that i have helped put things into better perspective for you. Too often i meet with individuals who have undergone training and are frustrated with the outcome or who have asked for help because they still do not know what they have learnt and need to be retrained. These individuals are upset and angry as they feel hard done by and cheated. I also meet with clients who complain that they hired a consultant to provide a service but it was absolutely disappointing or have been given the wrong advice. I increasingly find myself in the midst of fellow practising consultants who are disappointed with the fees that they are being paid or forced to agree to because of the discrepancy in amount of fees that is commanded by an Image Consultant.
I am always available and at hand to assist in any way that i can so please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries on this subject. I hope you enjoy this little corporate video i have put together for ByFERIAL Malaysia Training.
* If you are interested to train with us under any of our courses or are looking for a local course, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Not sure which course is right for you or where to go? Contact us today and we will be happy to help you decide or point you in the right direction if we are not a perfect fit for you.