Flawless Consulting

A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

Peter Block

Publisher: Jossey-Bass, 1981, 215 pages

ISBN: 0-89384-052-1

Keywords: Consulting

Last modified: Aug. 7, 2007, 8:56 a.m.

At last, a practical and useful consulting guidebook with a focus on specific consultant behavior. This is a "how-to-do-it" book, according to author Peter Block, that "tells you what to do and what to say in different consulting situations."

While other books on consulting outline theories for understanding organizations or for understanding different types of interventions, Flawless Consulting actually describes and demonstrates ways of behaving with clients. Block uses illustrative examples, case studies and exercises, and commentary on pitfalls to demonstrate the concepts of consultant integrity and interpersonal dynamics. He even offers sample client-consultant dialogue and other useful information for real-life application

Based on the author's many years of both internal and external consulting experience, this book s a step-by-step guide for developing the necessary skills for "flawless" consulting.

  1. A Consultant by Any Other Name…
    • Some Definitions and Distinctions
    • Consulting Skills Preview
    • The Promise of Flawless Consulting
  2. Techniques Are Not Enough
    • Beyond Substance
    • The Consultant's Assumptions
    • The Consultant's Goals
    • Developing Client Commitment
    • Roles Consultants Choose
    • Collaboration and Fear of Holding Hands
    • Staging the Client's Involvement — Step by Step
      • Checklist #1. Assessing the Balance of Responsibility
  3. Flawless Consulting
    • Being Authentic
    • Completing the requirements of Each Phase
    • Results
  4. Contracting Overview
    • Contracting — The Concept
    • Contracting Skills
    • Elements of a Contract
      • Checklist #2. Analyzing One of Your Contracts
      • Ground Rules for Contracting
  5. The Contracting Meeting
    • Who Is the Client
    • Navigating the Contracting Meeting
    • The Problem with Saying No
      • Checklist #3. Planning a Contracting Meeting
    • Selling Your Services
    • The Meeting As a Model of How You Work
    • Closing the Contracting Meeting
    • After the Contracting Meeting
      • Checklist #4. Reviewing the Contracting Meeting
  6. The Agonies of Contracting
    • Dealing with Low Motivation
    • Ceaseless Negotiation
    • Some Other Specific Agonies
    • The Bonner Case
    • A Look into the Bonner Case
  7. The Internal Consultant
    • Important Differences Between Internal and External Consultants
    • Triangles and Rectangles
  8. Understanding Resistance
    • The Faces of Resistance
    • What Are Clients Resisting When They Are Resisting Us?
    • Underlying Concerns
    • Sometimes It Is Not Resistance
    • The Fear and the Wish
    • Ogres and Angels
    • … and Heroics
  9. Dealing with Resistance
    • Three Steps
    • Don't Take It Personally
    • Good Faith Responses
    • Consulting with a Stone
  10. Diagnosis Concepts
    • The Call to Action
    • Juggling the Presenting Problem
    • How the Problem Is Being Managed
  11. Getting the Data
    • The Steps in Getting Data
    • Assessing How the Problem Is Being Managed
    • The Data Collection Interview
    • A Final Comment on What To Look For
      • Checklist #5. Planning a Data Collection Meeting
      • Checklist #6. Reviewing the Data Collection Meeting
  12. Preparing for Feedback
    • A Clear Picture May Be Enough
    • Some Do's and Don'ts
    • Language in Giving Feedback
    • A Preview of the Feedback Meeting… As Courtroom Drama
    • Support and Confrontation
  13. Managing the Feedback Meeting
    • Feedback Concepts and Skills
    • How to Present Data
    • Structuring the Meeting
    • The Feedback Meeting — Step by Step
    • Resistance in the Feedback Meeting
      • Checklist #7. Planning a Feedback Meeting
    • Conducting a Group Feedback Meeting
      • Checklist #8. Reviewing the Feedback Meeting
    • Feedback Skills Summary
  14. After the Preliminary Events Are Over
    • Flawless Consulting During Implementation
    • Ending a Project
    • The Benediction
  • Appendix Another Checklist You Can Use
    • To Get an Overview
    • Before You Negotiate Your Next Contract, Remember…
    • Before You Go into the Data Collection and Diagnosis Phase of Your Next Project, Remember…
    • Before You Go into the Feedback Phase of Your Next Project, Remember…
    • When You Encounter Resistance, Remember…


Flawless Consulting

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Outstanding ********* (9 out of 10)

Last modified: Aug. 5, 2007, 4:52 p.m.

A good book for every consultant to have read.

This book is something so unusual as it is useful from the start (i.e., before you have read all of it) and continues to be useful as you start-up your consultancy. It doesn't give you all the answers (not does it claim to) and for the more advanced concepts, you need to look elsewhere, but that doesn't diminish the value of this book.

Read it, and you'll understand why it is a classic. Recommended


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