Effective Consulting Step #3: Approach & Process

If you’re following along on my proposed “path to successful consulting & coaching”, we’re now on step 3 – process (eyes). If you’re just jumping in I suggest starting at the beginning of the series for context…(1st post)

Now that you have clarity on where you are, have established credibility and focused on the mindset & destination, it’s time to lay out a path to get there. How do you know if you’re ready? The clearest sign is that people are asking for it…”how do we make it happen?…what do we do?…let’s move!” (Incidentally the clearest sign you’re not ready is if people are stuck in the previous steps – “why are we here?…I don’t see the need?…”)

Image result for processAs you move into this step, try to make the progression feel organic. It sounds like: “since we know where we’re headed, let’s talk about the way we’re going to get there.”

Here are principles to keep in mind:

  1. Stay as high as possible as long as possible (no, we’re not talking about drugs). Communicate in terms of roadmap and macro-phases, not steps. People understand there’s a “beginning, middle and an end,” so connect with them at this level. Although there may very well be sub-phases and steps, do they need to know? Probably not. You’re in the drivers seat.
  2. Shine the headlights only on the next 100 feet. Continuing on the previous point, if we need to work in lockstep at a detailed level, then only explain what comes next. Don’t overwhelm them with future steps that are to come (…and often likely to change as a function of previous steps).
  3. Always communicate in terms of outcomes. While the activity itself might get messy, always go back to “what we’re trying to achieve in this phase” and how it fits to the overall big picture (back to destination mindset). This is amazingly clarifying, unifies people around outcomes, and helps untangle from “the technique.”

Clearly, the step of “process” crosses the border into “how” territory. As mentioned above, aim do it organically in a way that provides a way to move forward, not a labyrinth to be overcome.

Picture: www.linkedin.com

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