Reflections for My Mirror #4 – Fall Plantings

The activity last week was really, really helpful.  I realized it wasn’t necessarily what was on the syllabus but being able to practice different phases of inquiry were really helpful!  I didn’t realize exactly how helpful until this past weekend.  I was working through some landscaping issues with my dad and being very conscious of what questions I asked and how I asked them really made a difference for both of us.  What is usually a very trying task for us became much more interesting and downright fun!

One of the things I focused on was to ask questions before making judgements or offering my opinion.  It was very tempting to just offer an opinion since it’s my yard and my money going into the landscaping.  But, my dad is a professional horticulturist.  We talked through his suggestions so that I could understand more about WHY he made the suggestion rather than just focusing on the proposed plant, tree, bush, etc.  It also made me more conscious about how to respond.  Rather than just a “I don’t like that” or “That’s not what I want it to look like”, I could respond with “I see what you are saying about the shade, but I don’t want to clean up any fruit that drops to the ground all summer.”

The best part was that my dad felt a lot better about helping.  First, it made our time together more enjoyable.  Second, I’m more likely to get his help again in the future!

Reflections for My Mirror #3 – More Thoughts on Being Authentic

I finally figured out why I feel so uncomfortable applying Peter Block’s ideas on process consulting with my client this semester. On one hand, I am supposed to authentic. I am supposed to be true and honest and empathetic and professional. On the other hand, I am supposed to take a client to a place where they need to understand their role in their problem. This is not how I present myself to the client, this is not what the client is expecting from me. So, in a way it seems very IN-authentic. “Hi! Can you tell me what your problem is so that I can show you how you are responsible for it?”

When I was an internal consultant, the process consultant role was very different for me. People came to me with problems. I could decide through careful listening and well-timed questions whether or not I need to be a Hands-On, Expert or Process consultant with whatever the issue at hand was. Some times I even wore all three hats for one issue! Now, I feel a little sneaky. I feel like I’m going to surprise the client with the actual outcome.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to find out that my clients are both familiar with Peter Block. It helps me to feel like they know what is coming, even though we aren’t actually talking about it while contracting.