We all have different styles when connecting and the awareness of how you communicate can optimize connection and understanding. Identifying and naming the how you communicate as well as the other person can create an environment and conditions that minimize miscommunication.
Results: Spare me the details.
Will it work?
Action: What do we do about it?
Efficiency: Let’s settle this now.
Just do it.
Payoff: What will it cost?
What’s the bottom line?
Pragmatic: That’s not realistic.
What will it take?
History: Has this been tried before?
I’d like to know the background.
Details: Can you give me a breakdown?
Have we left anything out?
Logic: Can you support that with evidence?
All sides: What are our options?
Is there a downside?
Another thing to consider. . . .
Process: Let’s review the steps. . . .
How did you . . . ?
Future: It’s too short-sighted.
Let’s look at the big picture.
What if. . . .
Unique: I’m looking for a new way.
Here’s a new twist. . . .
This has never been done before.
Why? Why not?
Impact: This will have far-reaching effects.
Nothing will ever be the same again.
Visibility: This will make us look good!
What a splash this will make
Past: Here’s what we used to do. . . .
That reminds me of the time. . .
I’d like to tell a story.
People: How will this affect them?
Who might be hurt by this?
Relating: I like his style.
I know her pretty well.
Inclusion: Let’s go talk to some people.
Who else should know?
My very first consulting project after graduating college I was working on a large team where I was the most junior consultant. There were 30 team members working in a large conference room onsite at the client’s headquarters. I was responsible for answering the phone when the client would call from one of their offices on another floor of wing of the building. Often, I would be asked to take a message or tell the client that my fellow consultant, manager, or director was not in to answer their question. My colleagues were not finished with a presentation or collecting data or whatever the client was asking to discuss and asked me to lie for them. I felt very uncomfortable lying to the client and telling them that the person wasn’t there when they were sitting next me. One time, the client decided to walk down and try to find someone else to answer their question and found the consultant sitting in the room. At the time, I didn’t think I had a choice, and I just followed their requests and lied to the client and struggled internally as I don’t believe in lying. I resolved the dilemma by telling myself I was just following their orders and if I was honest with the client my colleagues may look compromised. In the end the client did not trust me because I was the one lying on the phone to them.
I have been a management consultant for twenty years. I graduated Lehigh university with a degree in industrial engineering and was hired right out of school where I experienced on the job training to act and think like a consultant. I would summarize my role is to offer advice, opinions, recommendations and most importantly solutions to problems. I was taught to minimize the assessment process and move quickly into recommendations because “time is money”. After reading chapter one of the Handbook on Coaching, I believe I rely heavily on the consulting framework (table 1.1 Coaching, Consulting, Counseling, and Mentoring: Key Distinctions). I lead from the front and am relied on as an expert who identifies barriers and blind spots and is brought in as a “cleaner” to solve difficult problems. Consulting and coaching both require a client to trust you but the focus, role, outcomes, and relationship are very different in nature. I often find it difficult to move from consultant to mentor to coach. Once I have assumed one role with a client, I find it difficult to take off one hat and put on another. I would like to be able to shift into coaching and mentoring as the situation requires it. I enjoy helping people achieve their potential and help them see their strengths. When I worked at the Gallup Organization, part of my consulting project was to bring in strengths coaches to help leaders identify their strengths and build on them. I see myself coaching with this lens.
I have a huge passion for both mentoring and coaching but have only performed in non-professional settings. I spend five seasons coaching girls’ softball and two years running an elementary school science team called Destination Imagination. I enjoyed spending six months to a year with each team and watch the players / teammates grow and develop under my guidance. Coaching and mentoring has proved the most rewarding for me and I would like to move into operating in a professional setting. I would like to explore adding a coaching element to my existing consulting toolkit. I am unsure if I will remain with a consulting firm after I graduate MSLOC or take on a new role internally.Intr
I generally take the philosophy that the Borg Collective, from Star Trek, uses to assimilate a new race in their collective which is “Resistance is futile”. I may drag my feet on occasion from wanting to address a difficult challenge or procrastinate addressing a difficult conversation but generally I tend to face my resistance head on and push through it. Most recently, I felt resistance when I knew I wanted to apply to MSLOC. I postponed the application process for two years and then finally pushed through my discomfort with the unknown and applied. Once I take the first step into the unknown, I could address my fears head on of writing a research paper and was I too old to learn and grow? I knew I had a deep desire to attend and successfully complete the MSLOC master’s program and I wasn’t going to let fear of the unknown create the resistance and barrier to achieving my dream. Upon reflecting on my resistance and associated behaviors reminds me to check in with myself when I am procrastinating. I should remind myself to ask, “why I am procrastinating?” and what support do I knew to push through my discomfort because I know resistance is ultimately futile and I will continue to have desire and dreams I will want to achieve.
My greatest weakness is my constant struggle with the temptation to accept the power that the other person grants you when he asks for advice. It takes extraordinary discipline in those situations to reflect for a moment on what is going on (deal with reality) and to ask a question that might reveal more or encourage the other to tell more before I start solving problems. If I think about how I refrain from leading with my assumptions or immediately sharing experiences from past projects, I come back to leading with inquiry. Additionally, the entry consulting process I follow tends to be more successful when I can work with project owner from the beginning. My first step is to create the starting line with the project owner. We jointly conclude the problem we are looking to solve, along with what success would look like. When I help them envision what success looks like, the starting line becomes clear. I often talk about what success looks like before we come to the problem statement to make a clear connect the two and envision the path forward. Coming up with the problems seems like a simple task but, is the most difficult part of my process and the most detrimental if not carved out properly. Resisting the temptation to plug in my expertise immediately and start solving problems is also important for my client to become invested in our joint success and without this investment and joint accountability to ensure barriers are removed and landmines are highlighted the failure would be entirely mine.
More recently I have been reflecting on my best client engagements and feel that they home one major criteria in common. In these instances, I do not just perform a technical fix but create an adaptive learning environment where the client learns to think like a consultant. They have experienced a consulting project and have the confidence to scope other challenges as they arise in their organizations. These clients have a newly formed confidence in themselves and as well as feeling like the one-off project was successful. I was able to teach them a skill they could leverage in their role.My