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)


About hdjackson

Graduate Student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying the theoretical world of Adult Learning along with its relation to Human Resources Developement. View all posts by hdjackson

2 responses to “A few tips to consider prior to the next meeting

  • Lindsey

    Such a thoughtful post, Holly! I understand your concern for delivering the not-so-complimentary” news as I would feel the same anticipation. After reading Schein’s chapter on intrapsychic processes, I considered why it is hard to deliver bad news…is it me that is uncomfortable because I don’t want to upset someone, do I think I know how the client will react, or are my feelings based on a prior experience? The ORJI Cycle is complex and really made me reflect on how consultants need to be aware of their own feelings to avoid misrepresentations and responses with bias. As you prepare for your discovery meeting, I agree explicit questioning and active moments of silence will prove to be valuable in understanding and working through defensiveness for both you and the client.

  • Lindsey

    Something else I just re-read made me think back to your post. From what you’ve gathered at this point, do you feel the client is clear about the purpose of the discovery meeting? On pg. 117 Schein talks about defining the situation and maybe before you reveal your findings, the client should know the purpose of the meeting is to provide balanced feedback which will include positives and negatives.

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