Monday, 22 June, 2009

Workshop on Becoming a Consultant

Recently I attended half-day training workshop on becoming a consultant. In this workshop, among various things, I learnt the Consulting Process consisting of five sequential phases.

  1. Entry & Contracting
  2. Discovery & Data Collection
  3. Feedback and decision to act
  4. Engagement and implementation
  5. Extension, Recycle and Termination

The consultant enters the first phase with information of client, sales and current trends. This phase involves negotiating wants, coping with mixed motivations and surfacing concerns about exposure and loss of control. The consultant needs information seeking, problem solving, critical thinking, questioning and negotiation skills in this phase. The tools that the consultant can call upon include MECE, argument mapping, critical questions and funneling. The ultimate outcome of this phase is a contract.

Second phase begins with the contract and initial hypothesis. The consultant executes this phase with questioning, observation, listening and analysis skills. Conducting interviews, MECE and scenario planning are the tools that consultant uses to come out with data analysis, problem statement, solution and recommendation.

Beginning with the outcome of second phase, third phase involves funneling data and managing feedback meeting with six hat technique, brainstorming and facilitation tools. The consultant uses the skills such as data analysis, creative thinking, decision-making and managing emotions. The deliverables of this phase include final recommendation, signoff on actions and plan.

Fourth phase involves aspects such as 'engagement over mandate & persuasion', 'design more participation than presentation', 'encourage difficult public exchanges', 'put real choice on the table', 'change the conversation to change the culture', 'pay attention to place' etc. The consultant would need skills such as involving others, communication, assertiveness, influencing and conflict management to deliver task completion report. The consultant can use tools such as influencing model and minto pyramid principle.

The final phase results into completion report, cheque (!) and further work plan if needed. It includes aspects such as completion review, further recommendation and separation. The consultant would need skills such as strategic thinking, being objective, presentation and relationships management and can make use of tools such as review and feedback gathering.

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