Coconsulting – introduction

I have used coconsulting, a simple process for giving and receiving help, for many years. It helps you think more clearly and act more powerfully when faced with the frustrations of being an independent OD Consultant!

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
  • Some theory about helping effectively and a description of coconsulting.
  • 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. Helping organisations develop can be lonely and stressful work. We deserve the best help we can get and that may be each other. The methods can also help people in an organisation help each other. The afternoon will work best with listening, support and confidentiality. Can we give that each other? I welcome feedback if you are uncomfortable or want something different.
  • Circle. Briefly, your name, what you do, one thing, you want from this session, one thing that is going well.
  • 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. These hurts are recoverable from. Listening is the key to the recovery process. It applies to minor irritations and deep hurts. 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 our clients 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.
  • 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. This could be for mutual support or within our client organisations.
  • 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