Consulting Skills/Reflector Entry 5

Normally, I would save this posting for last, but I felt the need to blog about it now!  The last couple of weeks have been very productive and interesting.  Sarah and I have been provided a wealth of information from our client Mrs. Gibbs, Executive Director of the Freedom House and Hilliard House.  On Tuesday, November 10th, I attended my first professional annual board meeting of the Freedom House and was really impressed.  Everyone was so welcoming and friendly! The meeting was very laid back but serious. Information was reported out on the status of the agency as expected, but the most inspiring part was when they had two previous clients share their success story.  It was so touching…….This was a great experience and revelation for me.  We have also been invited to attend the annual board meeting of the Hilliard House, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 17th.  I plan to attend this one as well.  It was highly recommended by Ms. Gibbs that we attend to get a feel of the differences in the interactions of both boards. Hmmm…….

On Friday, November 13th (Ooo Friday the 13th 🙂  )….. We met with Ms. Gibbs.  Our day began with a brief update meeting regarding our project, which was followed by a very enlightening tour of the Hilliard House.  This facility is a shelter that houses homeless women and their children up to age 18.  The facility is very well organized and suitable for the clients it serves.  Later we would travel over to the Freedom House, which is a homeless shelter that houses single men and women only.  Based on the locality of this facility, I was expecting to see a large old house that had been renovated to serve these individuals.  I was a bit surprised to find that the Freedom House was previously an old warehouse that had been renovated.  The Freedom House houses 26 males and 12 females all adults.  This facility is well managed and appropriate for the clients it serves.  While Mrs. Gibbs is Executive Director of both facilities, it is her hope to have both facilities merge.  This is where Sarah and I come in.  While we have been working diligently to assist her with this project, we are learning that it is bit more complex than we initially thought.  However, with the help of Ms. Gibbs (our client), our consulting skills readings (Block, Schein, et. al), facilitations by colleagues and overall want to help, we believe that this will be a successful project and lasting experience.

Stay tuned…….

Consulting Skills-Reflector/Entry 4

On the path to consulting……..As we journey into depth with our chosen clients we are discovering that it is important to fold back one layer of that onion at a time.  Thus far, we have learned that consulting can be very complex.  Techniques are not enough, there are many different roles that a consultant must consider in dealing with a client.  Mainly, knowing the difference in the roles of an internal vs. external consultant.  Starting with the contracting phase, it is important to develop a written contract, which should display your clients wants, as well as your wants.  In addition, we have learned to recognize and deal with certain types of resistance in clients, as well as deal with some agonies involved in the contracting phase.  Although, I missed the class discussion on diagnosis to discovery and data gathering, after reading the text, I now understand the importance of the steps in getting the data and the few ways that data is collected.

As we move forward with our projects, we must keep in mind that in order for the consulting process to be flawless, it must be a 50/50 relationship, and that it is the client who owns the problem.  We are there to help them so that if the problem occurs again in the future they will be equipped to handle it themselves. Following all of the required steps to flawless consulting as outlined by Block and Schein is sure to make the consulting process successful!