As consulting professionals, each interaction with a client offers an opportunity to allow the flawless consultant within us to emerge. So is your consulting flawless? The preliminary events of consulting are where we have the most leverage to create successful outcomes during implementation. Furthermore, our reactions to a client, our feelings during conversations, our ability to solicit feedback from the client and give feedback to the client—can accelerate trust, instill balanced responsibility, and build client commitment throughout the consulting process. So, what strikes you about these choices?
(Dealing with emotional issues and agreeing on how to proceed)
|How’s the weather in your area today?
|Things have not gone smoothly in our history of working together. That concerns me and I want to rewrite that history. What personal meaning do you find in what we’re doing?
|How long has this been going on? Have you tried…?
|I hear your concern for… And what I hear really matters to you is…
|What do you want from this project?
|What do you want from me?
|It would be good to get your support on this.
|I want you to make the decision when others on this project come to a standstill or impasse.
|Based on what we’ve discussed, next steps are…
|What doubts and reservations do you have about our agreement to work together?
|I completely understand. Now, back to…
|You’ve really helped me see what’s at stake for you. Thank you for trusting me in that way. How do you feel about proceeding?
(Discovering the underlying dimensions of the problem)
|I’m here to diagnose the problem.
|What can we create together that we cannot create alone?
|What seems to be the problem?
|What capacities and strengths of others would make this successful?
|What process seems to be missing?
|How is conflict managed?
|Who has solved this elsewhere, and how do we import that knowledge?
|What is your contribution to the problem?
|How did this problem start?
|What’s the future you want to see?
|It sounds like the problem is… What if you…?
|What do you need to do to create the future you’ve described?
(Getting the client to act on the underlying issues)
|I’m here to teach you how to…
|What declaration of possibility can you make that has the power to transform this group and inspire you?
|As you can see on slide #36…
|Something you may have control over is… Something you can do is… What’s your reaction to what I just shared?
|Another reason my recommendation will work is…
|What ideas do you recommend for turning this around?
|Let me explain a third time what I mean.
|Are you getting what you want from this meeting?
|Believe me—my plan is solid.
|Here are the choices you have. What promise are you willing to make that constitutes a risk or major shift for you?
|I’ll send you the PowerPoint.
|Something you’ve done in this conversation that’s been of value to me is…
Flawless consultation means consulting as best we can, independent of outcomes. Letting our behavior be consistent with our beliefs and feelings. Trusting ourselves to raise the stakes, engage in caring confrontation, offer strong support, and ensure affirmation of what each of us knows. This is the path that serves us well with clients and increases the chances that our expertise will be used again and again. Make your consulting flawless today. Learn more here.
by JP Tier