Coconsulting – introduction

Coconsulting – introduction

For many years, I have used coconsulting, a simple process for giving and receiving help. It helps you think more clearly and act more powerfully when faced with anything.

At this workshop, I will show us the method, describe the theory and invite you to try it out for ourselves. You will discover what general principles make for effective consulting.

Form of the workshop

  • Introduction to the workshop and each other
  • What is consulting and the underlying theory about helping effectively?
  • Demonstration of coconsulting with a volunteer followed by a review
  • We all coconsult with each other
  • Review of what works and dealing with any difficulties
  • Planning what to do next

Detailed design

  • My objective is to show you how to use coconsulting to help each other grow. The workshop will work best with listening, support and confidentiality. Can we give that to each other? I welcome feedback if you are uncomfortable or want something different.
  • Circle. Say your name, what you do, one thing that is going well and one thing you want from this session.
  • Some theory. My basic assumption about human nature is that people are inherently good. We are easily hurt and that makes it hard to think clearly. We can recover from our hurts. Being listened to is the key to the recovery process. We solve problems, even technical ones, much faster when we talk them over. Listening works best when we take it in turns. The quality of the attention we give to each other is a key to our ability to help. Respect, Genuineness and Empathy are probably more important than any “technique”. We specify no method in coconsulting. The only fixed points are to have equal time and take turns.
  • I give a brief demonstration of my approach to coconsulting with a volunteer. The volunteer raises any real issue this does not have to be heavy.
  • Review of the demonstration. What did I do that helped? What would you have done differently?
  • The participants work in pairs for 15 minutes each way. The subjects are up to you as are the methods. If you can’t decide then try “A happy memory, something you would like to change and how to increase the amount of support in your organisation or your client’s”. Concentrate on listening intently when you are being the consultant.
  • After each session, the pair discusses what the listener did that helped for up to five minutes. They also identify any difficulties.
  • List together what the consultants did that helped. What common factors are there? List the difficulties and how to respond to them.
  • Decide any follow-up actions. Where and how could you continue this process.
  • Review the workshop. What did you learn? What worked? What could be better next time?


If you would like help using this idea, or have any comments or questions please contact me. Thanks, Nick