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Why do you ask consultants to help you in your organization ?

Is it about having them tell you what the problem is and how to solve it ?  Or do you know what the problem is and how to solve it, but don't you see yourself doing it ? Or is consulting about something totally different ?  Is it about triggering a process and bringing stakeholders together and help them make their own analysis and design their own solutions ?  Is it about making sure they get and keep ownership over their own organizational issues ?  Then the best thing you can do as consulting is NOT coming with some kind of solution.

scheinfoto

 

 
 
Edgar Schein, (1990).  A General Philosophy of Helping : Process Consulting.  Sloan Management Review.

 

 

Process Consultation is the creation of a relationship with the client that permits the client to perceive, understand, and act on the process events that occur in the client’s internal and external environment in order to improve the situation as defined by the client. (Ed Schein, 1969).  Process Consultation has become the most used term to indicate a form of consultation that is not so much focusing on expert advice or on 'bringing in a solution' but this form of consulting offers a 'helping relationship' to people in organizations.  It provides a way and an opportunity for the stakeholders of issues in an organization to start working together on the issue and invent their own solutions.  It is based on the assumption that the stakeholders have the content expertise to solve the issues, but that they need a consultant to support the process by which they can work together and find through the sharing of their expertise co-create the way to go. Sometimes the term collaborative consulting is also used.  An important part of collaborative consulting is about developing ownership for the issues and the possible interventions within the client organization. An important issue is the need for the consultant to work towards autonomy for the client organization and avoiding to develop some kind of 'dependence' on the consultant. (the marginality of the consultant versus the centrality for the members of the organization). Another term that pops up from time to time is 'systemic consulting' which is not in contradiction with process consultation. That term highlights the importance to look at the organizational system as a whole and the interrelations of the different parts of the system and how that creates meaning in the organization.

Another term that pops up from time to time is 'systemic consulting' which is not in contradiction with process consultation. That term highlights the importance to look at the organizational system as a whole and the interrelations of the different parts of the system and how that creates meaning in the organization.Scheinbook

A few more articles on systemic and/or process consultation are listed below :

 

Ed Schein on Helping Leadership or Leaders as process facilitators Ed Schein on Helping Leadership or Leaders as process facilitators

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