Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice

Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice

Exhibit A hierarchy of consulting purposes1. Providing information to a client.2. Solving a client’s problems.3. Making a diagnosis, which may necessitate redefinition of the problem.4. Making recommendations based on the diagnosis.5. Assisting with implementation of recommended solutions.6. Building a consensus and commitment around corrective action.7. Facilitating client learning—that is, teaching clients how to resolve similar problems in the future.8. Permanently improving organizational effectiveness.The lower-numbered purposes are better understood and practiced and are also more requested by clients. Many consultants, however, aspire to a higher stage on the pyramid than most of their engagements achieve.Purposes 1 through 5 are generally considered legitimate functions, though some controversy surrounds purpose 5. Management consultants are less likely to address purposes 6 through 8 explicitly, and their clients are not as likely to request them. But leading firms and their clients are beginning to approach lower-numbered purposes in ways that involve the other goals as well. Goals 6 through 8 are best considered by-products of earlier purposes, not additional objectives that become relevant only when the other purposes have been achieved. They are essential to effective consulting even if not recognized as explicit goals when the engagement begins.

Source: Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice

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