Organizational Consultation: An Appreciative Approach–IX. The Consultative Process: Stages Six to Ten

Organizational Consultation: An Appreciative Approach–IX. The Consultative Process: Stages Six to Ten

William Bergquist

This essay concerns the second half of the consulting process—when information turns to action and the consultant is “earning her keep” with the provision of specific recommendations or at least enriching insights about the important issues facing her client. This second half includes re-contracting, planning for intervention, intervention, evaluation of the intervention and exit. While not all of these stages are required in each consultation, they must always be kept in mind when the consultant is working through the consulting process with her client.,

Stage Six: Re-contract

After the conclusion of the initial information-oriented stages of consultation, it is essential that the client and consultant reflect on their progress and determine the ways in which this progress clarifies or alters the nature of their working relationship. If a reassessment of expectations, roles, goals or concerns is not needed, the client and consultant have been either extraordinarily insightful or prophetic at the outset, or the information being generated and findings being conveyed were not new to the client or were of little practical value. On the other hand, extensive and disruptive re-contracting will not be necessary if the client and consultant formulated the original contract (Stage Two) in a deliberative manner, and if the client has been kept fully informed of developments during the initial five stages of consultation.

Explicit re-contracting usually will not occur without the direct encouragement of the consultant. The client should be invited to sit down with the consultant to discuss the consultancy and to begin planning for the next steps (leading to Stage Seven). When the consultation is complex, an in-person discussion is preferable to a telephone conversation. Furthermore, the group that is to meet for this re-contracting should be kept small so that discussion can be candid and productive. Input from other sources (the audience) should be brought in by the client and shared openly with the consultant.


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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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