Organizational Consultation: An Appreciative Approach–III. Four Models of Consultation

Organizational Consultation: An Appreciative Approach–III. Four Models of Consultation

To begin use of a nautical analogy that shall be employed in describing all four models, the Model One practitioner plays the role of the captain of the ship. One of the primary responsibilities of the ship’s captain is to bring the ship safely to the entrance of the harbor. At this point, as we shall note below, the captain either gives up control to a tugboat captain (Model II) or a harbor pilot (Model III), or retains control, but seeks guidance from the signals emitted by the harbor lighthouse (Model IV).

Between harbors, the ship’s captain is in charge. As the captain of an organization or captain of one unit in an organization, the Model One practitioner uses position power or reward and punishment power in order to determine the direction of or guide the implementation of a specific change in the organization or in the life of a specific person. One who aspires to Model One effectiveness will seek to move into a position of power in the organization (such as Manager of Training and Development, Director of Personnel, or head of an operational unit in the organization). He or she may also attempt to influence or control rewards that are offered by the organization (e.g. becoming administrator of a professional growth fund in a college, or becoming manager of an employee compensation or merit pay plan in a corporation). If one has neither position power nor the capacity to reward or punish other people in the organization, then Model One change is unlikely to occur as a result of one’s initiative.

Most practitioners work within organizations. They are given the job of planning for and running programs to improve the quality of work being done in the organization. They often devote a considerable amount of time to managing their own shop and help other units of the organization complete their work in an efficient and effective manner. Many training and development departments provide ongoing services to the corporation, such as conferences, workshops and seminars. In these various capacities, the internal practitioner is often serving in a Model One capacity and is limited to Level One Change.

Even those who work as outside consultants to organizations will often assume a Model One role for a short period of time in the organization. A social service agency, for instance, might need someone to write a grant proposal that is due in two weeks. A corporation might need someone to prepare a software package for its computer system. There is insufficient time to train people inside these organizations to perform these tasks. Hence a Model One consultant is brought in to perform this short-term, specialized task, and they are given broad powers to get the job done.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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