Monthly Archives: October 2012

A few tips to consider prior to the next meeting

As part of our consultation project, Shannon and I decided to survey each volunteer to get their feedback on the recruitment and onboarding processes for the department.   We’ve received a great response thus far and, as I reviewed a few the other day, I found myself excited that so many had wonderful ideas and very complimentary thoughts that were going to be a joy to share with the client. Sometimes the best ideas can absolutely come from within!  It also struck me that the “not so complimentary” comments were going to be part of the same conversation.  Perhaps I should be grateful that there will be more good than bad, but I can honestly say that I am not as excited to share these statements as they may strike a sensitive cord during our next meeting.   So as I consider the best methods for possibly sharing this information with him (shall I get Shannon to do it??:), I am reminded as I read Schein’s text of the importance in preparing myself for his reaction to what I share as well.   Explicit questioning for instance is an essential tool suggesting that you should paraphrase and ensure that you have understood their statement/reaction correctly.  This could be extremely helpful if the response is somewhat defensive.  Taking a moment to restate their words and how they are being perceived can, at times, help the person understand how their words may really seem as opposed to what they intended.  It can also help me ensure that I really understand what they are trying to share.  A mention of silence causes pause, as mentioned before, this is not a strong suit for me.  I so readily want to share my own thoughts and feelings, especially if I am responding to a defensive reaction, but I forget the importance of giving them enough time to explain theirselves as they should.  So as I gather my plan I reflect on a quote from Schien, “Just as the artist must study the characteristics of what she is going to draw or paint, the helper must study the clients, the situation, and her own responses to it in order to form as clear a picture as possible of the realities.”(p 98)


Successful step forward in the contracting meeting

The first meeting with the client actually went really well. Albeit that a consultant would assume that the client would receive help with open arms as opposed to with reservation, the reality is that this is not always the case. As Block states in the chapters reviewed as of late, there are several things that the client may be feeling as the consultant first steps into the picture. How will this make them look? Is it a sign of failure that I’m reaching out for help? And of course, let us not forget those that are receiving the help even though they have not asked for it. How would you feel if you we’re told by your superior that they were bringing in someone to review and critique your processes? But, as Block states, it can be all in how you say things and just how well you listen. Resistance was not something that I encountered (thankfully) but the real test will be perhaps when it comes to delivering the findings…