Relationship-based consulting model follows a logical progression of consultant activities and behaviors. Variations occur in the level of collaboration required in the activities and the timing of those activities.
Entry and Contracting
Entry begins the relationship between both parties by testing the fit of consultant’s skills and values with the organization’s needs. Contracting continues the process of clarifying the expectations of the consultation efforts (goals, etc.) and desired characteristics of the client-consultant relationship
Discovery and Dialogue
Though some information probably surfaced in the first phase, discovery is a systematized approach to gaining information about the organization (collected in a variety of ways.) Dialogue is a process, collaborative between the consultant and client organization members, to derive meaning from the information gathered.
Feedback and Decision to Act
Formally we come to a mutual understanding about the meaning of the analysis and the areas of focus for the next consulting activities. The client decides what to act upon and with the consultant’s help how to do that.
Engagement and Implementation
Specific activities in service of the project’s goals are carried out in the client organization. These may be led by the consultant, supported by the consultant, and/or accomplished by the organizational members alone.
Extension, Recycle, or Closure
Once the activities are completed, lets look at the progress compared to the intentions. If the work is completed, this is the time to celebrate that completion and say good-bye. If there are still actions to be taken, this is a decision point about renegotiating an agreement.