Process Consultation: Group Focus

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    Understanding Facilitation

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    What is Process Consultation?

    Suggested Pre-Reading

    Although process consultation is a unique style and approach to facilitation, the reader would benefit from first grasping the typical nature and tasks of facilitation, in general. See All About Facilitation

    Next, understand the typical stages of group development. See Group Dynamics: Basic Nature of Groups and How They Develop

    Definitions of Process Consultation

    Now, perhaps the best definition comes from the original developer himself, Edgar Schein.

    Process Consultation is the creation of a relationship with the client that permits the client to perceive, understand, and act on the process events that occur in the client’s internal and external environment in order to improve the situation as defined by the client. — Edgar Schein, Process Consultation: Its role in organization development, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, Mass, 1969.

    Schein stresses that the process consultant’s role is one of helping groups, rather than directing their members with expert advice. The focus is on the group’s processes, such as communication and leadership — especially in areas that members are not aware of, but that adversely affect them achieving their goals. The process of process consultation generally follows that of action research.

    This definition aptly describes the unique nature of mutual collaboration between the facilitator and client in process consultation:

    Process consulting is a model of consultation based on mutual “helping relationship” propounded by Edgar Schein. It all started as a practice during the late twentieth century as a consulting work in which the consultant works ‘with’ the client and not ‘for’ the client. This constitutes the fundamental philosophy of process consulting. In process consultation there is no one management expert who comes up with an off-the-shelf solution for the client, rather the consultant and the client indulges into a participatory process from diagnostics to implementation in finding out a solution that specifically applies to the said client system organization. The key aspects of mutual participation and specificity makes the process consultant methodology a powerful management consultancy tool. — ODPEDA – the Open Encyclopedia of Organization Development

    Process consultation: outline and essential concepts by, Edgar Schein, the developer of process consultation

    This 7-minute YouTube video further shows Edgar Schein’s description of process consultation.

    Process Consultation Revisited: Building the Helping Relationship – Edgar Schein describes the ten principles of process consultation.

    Now it is useful to further clarify and broaden your understanding of process consultation by reviewing the entire information at the Wikipedia site.

    Examples of Process Consultation

    For the Category of Facilitation and Teams:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.