Process consulting for change and effectiveness
Process consulting is a powerful tool which is used to enhance group effectiveness, shorten meeting times, and address conflict. It helps teams to work together more effectively, and its effects can last long after the consultant has departed.
The benefits of process consulting are usually:
- Shorter meetings.
- More productive meetings.
- Better decisions.
- Increased feelings of participation or potency.
- Greater satisfaction with the team or meetings.
Process consulting is carefully intervening in a group or team to help it to accomplish its goals. The consultant does not try to help the team as an expert; instead, the consultant helps the team to help itself.
These skills used in process work are quite different from those used in “expertise-based” consulting, because the consultant must:
- concentrate on the way the team works, rather than what it is working on.
- stay silent even when issues s/he knows or cares about are discussed.
- ask questions instead of offering expert advice.
- help the team solve its own problems.
- not make value judgements or deal with content issues.
- understand group dynamics, conflict resolution, and manager/leader development.
Process consulting also requires a client who is aware of their problems, and who is willing to listen and change some habits if needed. In some ways, process consulting is as difficult for the client as it is for the consultant, because they must put aside any natural defensiveness and temporarily yield their authority in some ways. However, the rewards far outweigh the efforts and risks.
Overall, process consulting is an invaluable but underused service which requires an experienced consultant.
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