Dub Dubs has a great post from the HR.com site on how to choose a HR consultant. I personally found point number 7 very reassuring to read.
They will “push back,” and not merely respond to your requests. Good consultants ask “Why?” when you tell them you want something, and attempt to determine what you really need, which may be different from what you think you want. That’s why you’re assessing outside help.
Sanjay would approve !
And that point applies to almost every kind of 'partnering' relationship, not just a HR consultant. If you find that people around you are not asking "why" , maybe you are doing something wrong !
Maybe clients need some education too on how to get the most value out of a consulting relationship. Too many times people are used to working with "vendors" and not "partners" !