Does consulting work?
Not always. As usual, there are no guarantees in life.
However, consulting is helpful and it can be spectacularly successful.
How? How could it work?
After all, since its goal is to improve the quality of the participant’s life and no consultant has direct power over the participant’s life, how could any consultant provide value to the participant?
It’s a good question. It’s good to be skeptical! (It is not, however, good to be negative.)
Whatever obstacle confronts you, you already have the way to dissolving it. However, you may not realize that.
The best consultants are educators who, like Socrates, draw out solutions from their enquiring clients.
Consulting often works best when it is based on what is often called “facilitation.” What’s that?
Since you are an adult, you have already learned that changing is difficult. It is not easy gain new skills and improve your habits, is it? It’s always risky, and will power is always in short supply.
The purpose of consulting should never be to have the participant fulfill the consultant’s agenda.
The purpose of consulting is to enable the client to evolve to the next level more easily than would be possible without the consulting. The client’s evolution will dissolve the original obstacle, and the benefits of that should far outweigh the cost to the client.
Imagine that you want to learn how to swim. Since you don’t want to drown, is it a good idea to try to teach yourself how to swim? Is it wise to go forth into deep water alone?
A much better option is to have a friend in the water with you as you prepare to let go of the dock and venture out into deep water for the first time. An experienced friend would provide a degree of psychological comfort as well as instruction and safety.
Even though your friend cannot do your swimming for you, your friend cares about you and is there with you. An experienced friend will be able to reduce your learning curve and enable you to learn how to swim much more easily than if you had to rely on trial-and-error If your friend knows how to swim, your friend can not only be a source of support and safety, but your friend may be able to shorten your learning curve.
A hired consultant is like such a friend.
Because a good friend cares deeply about you, a good friend listens deeply to you. A good friend is nonjudgmental. A good friend is focused on helping you fulfill your agenda and not on using you to fulfill his or her agenda; in other words, a good friend, while wanting the best outcome for you, remains centered and detached.
Bad habits are easy to fall into but difficult to live with, whereas good habits are difficult to establish but easy to live with. Like a good friend, a good consultant can help you over the initial difficulty of establishing better habits.
Wouldn’t your life be immensely easier if you had improved skills and better habits?
If so, like a good, experienced friend, a skillful consultant should be able to help you help yourself.