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|Coconsulting - a basic structure|
Coconsulting is a peer process where people take equal times helping each other.As long as the consultant (helper) is sincerely interested in helpingthe client, in a way the client can accept, then many methods willwork.
The rest of the note givessome suggestions for a basic structure and method that will work inmost cases. It may be particularly helpful for people who arestarting to learn and use coconsulting. Reviewing what works andlearning from experience are built into the process, so simply doingcoconsulting will help you do it better and better.
Before you start
Agree a time to meet, how long for, the vehicle (face to face, phone etc.) and where.
Remind each other of the“rules”. Have equal time and take turns, keep attention on theclient's concerns, confidentiality, use an acceptable method ofworking.
Decide who will go first.
Now you know what to do and what to expect.
Listen,pay attention to the client, look interested, don't listen to your own inner chatter, remember your job is almost always to help your client progress not to solve the problem for the person, remember that the client is doing her or his best,however it may appear.
The clearer you are about your role, the easier and the more effective it will be.
It can be helpful to occasionally summarise what you have heard and play it back to the client in yourown words. Check you have got it right.
This helps the client know she or he has been heard and to clarify if necessary.
Stages of a session
This helps the client feel supported, valued and heard. This may be enough to help themfind a solution.
This will help the client develop new insights
The answers might be“More listening” or “Nothing, I know what to do”. So listen some more or go straight to reviewing the session, below. The client may say “A solution!” If s(he) does.
The client will own anidea they created so will want to act on it.
Be careful, make it clear that it is entirely the client's decision about what to do. You won't be the least upset if they think your ideas are absurd. Offer your ideas tentatively so it is easy for the client to reject orbuild on them.
We often know what todo. The critical step is decidingto do it. If your client says “I'll try to...” or “ Imight....”, it's worth asking her or him to rephrase it to “I've decided to....”.
Finally,review the session.
The first question gives you an idea of the value you added, the last two help you learn from what works and possibly how to do it even better. They will helpyou get better and better at delivering coconsulting.
The more open you can be the easier it will be for the consultant to be there for you and be truly helpful.
If you do this, you are more likely to get what you want and your consultant will learn too.
Youwill learn more about why it was so good, what you did to make it so good, and you'll be inspired to do it again!
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