A connection?

As I read Nancy Dixon’s Perspectives on Dialogue, I had a sudden thought.  When consulting, you are very focused on perspectives, feelings and enlightenment.  You want to help them understand things from another perspective and see what may be going wrong based on your expertise.  You also want to ensure that when you leave, what you have left them with is something that they can continue.  So I wonder, should the consultant also consider the feedback meeting and any work after as a learning opportunity(s) for the client? Reflecting back, Block has given insight to the importance of being authentic in the relationship with the client.  Dixon too stresses the importance of being authentic, but with a slightly different emphasis.  “It is (…) necessary to speak authentically and fully about all which bears upon the subject of the dialogue” (the problem).  “To do less is to mislead others who are trying to learn, and to prevent oneself from learning as well.”  For the first time I think I truly see the connection between being a facilitator and an internal consultant in the organization in which I work. When you take on a consulting project, you are using your expertise to examine a process and it’s opportunities.  But you are also using your abilities as an instructor/facilitator to guide the individual or organization through the process of development for the change that they seek.  You are, in a sense, their partner in diagnoses and teacher in change (if they choose to move forward with it).  Dixon also provides further insight into the another aspect of the meetings with the client, again aligning with Block as well as Schien.  Dixon stresses the importance that listening can play in the dialogues with the client, something I am wrapping my head around as we prepare for our upcoming meeting on Wednesday.  I so quickly, as I’ve eluded before, try to fix what I perceive to be the problem.  But the role I am playing is not to fix really, it is to facilitate change.  “When individuals say more than they know they lose the ability to hear the perspectives of others, and others, hearing that person’s certainty, refrain from offering their conflicting thoughts, which might widen and enrich his or her perspective.”


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

One response to “A connection?

  • Lindsey

    I am disappointed I missed facilitation and class discussion on dialogue because I think it would have enhanced my understanding. I enjoyed reading about the different dialogue models and
    the first quote you included above by Dixon is one I included it in my final paper 🙂 What great intrapersonal awareness the texts have brought! I found authenticity to be a reoccurring theme throughout the texts and agree it is important, but also know it doesn’t come automatically-at least until some trust and rapport is built between client and consultant. So, easier said than done!
    I too did not view my role as facilitator of change until mid-way through the project. I realized I wasn’t consulting to prove a point, or be in control, but to broaden perspective and create opportunities. As you said…leave them with something to continue!

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