Published on February 19, 2014
Key Consultancy Styles and Framework www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
The Consultancy Framework Each consultancy project moves through several phases: there is a shape to the process. If consultancy projects go wrong, it is most often due to the consultant’s mishandling of one or more of these phases, especially the first three. There are seven key stages you move through in the consultancy process are not linear and don’t follow the same order, and they fall into three easy categories: • • • Building Trust Creating The Possibility Getting Into Action www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Building Trust • • Making initial contact: creating a rapport with a new client or developing it with an existing one. Gaining entry- earning the right to be your internal ‘client’s’ consultant (even more important if they don’t have much of a choice!) www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Creating The Possibility • • • • Contracting with a client: the skills required to build a working relationship Agreeing your client’s requirements and collecting relevant data Designing and managing a consultancy strategy and style www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Getting Into Action • • Problem solving, feedback and implementation Dis- or re-engagement and follow up: feedback on how far the situation has been resolved and discussion of any proposed follow-on services. www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Styles of Communication In your job role, you are likely to interact with a wide range of clients, in different internal functions, who all have their own unique problems. We’ve identified four separate styles of communication that will help you adapt your style to the differing circumstances and personalities:
Active Listening This is used when your internal client’s feelings and emotions are stopping them from dealing with the issue in a logical manner. The key to an active listening approach is being empathetic, helping them to acknowledge and cope with the feelings that are blocking progress. In this mode, you stay very closely with the client and his or her frame of reference until they say, or you sense, that they are ready to move on. www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Directional Questioning Here you support your client in clarifying their understanding of the problem, analyse it and then move on to look at all possible options before making a committed decision. It’s important to be certain that your client is ready to be gently encouraged to move away from their initial ‘safe’ position on the issue that you are tackling. www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Challenging When you find that the client is part of the problem itself, you may need to point out that there is an inconsistency between what they say they will do and what they are actually doing. This is a high risk intervention and you must be sure that your relationship with the client and the level of trust between you is very high before you use this style. www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
Prescriptive A prescriptive approach can be defined as listening to your client’s problem, conducting a thorough diagnosis, and then offering them a solution or recommendation. Your client need to have bought into your credibility and expertise and to have given ‘permission’ for you, in effect, tell them what to do! www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
For more information: To get a chance of practising these four styles, and how they are experienced as a client, find out more about the Leaders Lab Consultancy Skills Programme for Internal Advisors. If any of the themes raised during this strike a chord, then do leave a comment or email us at email@example.com www.leaderslab.co.uk 01865 881056
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