Process consulting is a valuable instrument in situations where complex problems need to be solved. You can apply process consulting not only professionally, but also in your personal life. Are you curious how you can do that? Read all about the art of process consulting and how you can apply it in your personal life.
Someone approaches you with a life question. A friend or colleague is stuck in a situation and wants to move on, but doesn't know how.
For example, a friend tells you that she is having problems with her neighbors. Now her house doesn't feel nice anymore and she doubts whether she should sell it.
How do you tackle this problem using process consulting?
There are 3 different ways to help your girlfriend. If you do this through process consulting, a conversation will look like this:
You guide the other person to arrive at an answer. You help your girlfriend to explore the truth and gain insight into the situation.
“What's going on with your neighbor? What if you visualize the ideal situation? What does it take to get there? What stops you?"
There are of course other approaches to this problem. In addition to process consulting, there is also expert consulting and doctor-patient consulting.
According to expert consulting, you approach it as follows: you provide expert feedback. You immediately tell your girlfriend what you would do.
“No, this is not a good place for you, if I were you I would sell the house!”
According to doctor-patient consulting, you act as a doctor would do in a consultation. You listen to what the 'patient' needs, ask a number of in-depth questions and then advise what to do.
“Given all your input, I advise you to rent a house first.”
Do you recognize these approaches and which ones are you most tempted by?
The last two approaches are the most common in consultancy. Actually, this is the traditional way of consulting, which we all recognize. A less used – but very powerful – approach is process consulting.
The role of the process consultant is not to find answers or solutions, but it is to provide a guiding process in which customers can define and solve their own problems. The consultant is a facilitator in this.
The two traditional approaches have clear benefits for the customer: the answer is there, let's move on. However, this comes with a price:
- For the customer, the path from question to answer is a black box.
- The customer may not fully understand the solution.
- The client can evade responsibility (that is what the consultant had to do).
When working with process consultation, the responsibility remains with the customer.
Working with process consultation will:
- bring full acceptance of the solution, the customer is the decision maker of every step in the process;
- teach the client about the methods and techniques for defining and solving problems;
- further develop the customer's own knowledge of the subject.
In this way, the process consultant will deliver a much more sustainable end result. Also resulting in growth and development of the client itself.
The photo in this book of Marc Bay is a nice overview of the role of the client and the consultant in the different approaches.
Bolster and process consulting
Back to your girlfriend with the house and the difficult neighbor. If you were faced with this dilemma yourself, which method would you prefer?
Bolster works with international customers on the basis of process consultation. Rogier 't Hooft is co-founder of Bolster, a boutique consultancy in Haarlem in the field of strategy and leadership.
Curious about what we can do for you or your company? Get in touch or come and taste our coffee at our office in Haarlem.