We offer more details on HC in the next 4 weeks. The idea for the article series is to spread more insights in the consulting approach to a broader audience.
‘From my opinion it is the only approach to find answers for the current challenges – in the VUCA – world.’
Prepared by Andrea Martha Brunner
Humble Consulting by Edgar Schein
Part 1 – in the VUCA-World
HC presumes that you are committed to being helpful, bring a great deal of honest curiosity, and have the right caring attitude, a willingness to find out what is really on the clients mind.
HC requires a new kind of personal relationship with the client:
- New kind of behavior in the very first contact – be there to help in whatever way possible – express it in personal conversations, e-mails;
- Before offering a solution stay curious and ask for more – what the client might have in mind.
- Requires a new attitude of humility, a commitment to helping and curiosity
- Requires new listening and responding skills
- New and different ‘personal role’ for the consultant
- Encourages a wider range of consultant behavior based on the consultant being open, authentic, and innovative in the relationship
- Will be most effective if the new conversations become dialogues
How the elements fit together: To be really helpful requires locating what the real problem is, that is, what is worrying the client?
- To locate what is worrying the client requires open and trusting communication between client and helper.
- To facilitate open and trusting communication requires building a Level Two personal working relationship that goes beyond the formal Level One professional relationship of most helping situations
- To build such a Level Two working relationship requires some amount of personalization of the relationship
- To personalize the relationship requires humble inquiry by asking more personal questions or revealing more personal thoughts or feelings
- To build a personal Level Two relationship requires that the consultant conveys this intention in the initial contact with the client
- To make sense of what is bothering the client, once a Level Two working relationship is built, helper and client must engage in a joint dialogic process
- To determine whether there are several things bothering the client for which no single solution will help requires careful review by both the consultant and client
- To decide where action is needed, consultant and client have to jointly decide on priorities and what actions to take
- If the problem is simple and clear, the helper should go into the expert or doctor role or refer the client to an expert or doctor
- If the problem turns out be complex and messy, the client and helper should engage in a dialogue to figure out a feasible adaptive move (have to be joint decisions), knowing that this may not solve the problem but will provide some comfort and will reveal new information on the basis of which to figure out the next adaptive move.
Real help means doing something with and for the clients that they cannot be done by themselves.
Exercise for our readers
Get together with a fellow consultant and review several recent cases from the point of view of what kind of process help you provided. Be very specific and give lots of examples so that you can learn from each other.
Alternatively, get together with a friend or spouse and discuss a recent decision that you made from a purely process point of view. How did you make the decision, were there alternative ways to do it, and how do you feel about how you did it?
Next week same time – you will read more about the most important leadership skills in Part 2.
Kind regards and enjoy first part of the approach