As I’ve branched out into consulting with this year I’ve been looking around for good resources to strengthen my skill base. I’ve reached out to some more experienced mentors, taken up some brief training and workshops, and read some excellent books. I was startled and thrilled to discover that I felt extremely at home with the materials around facilitation and consulting. They gel so well with my skills and ethos! I’m fortunate that the client who contracted me thought this was obvious… Sometimes it’s much easier for others to see things about ourselves!
Oddly enough there’s a surprising overlap of skills between facilitating a therapeutic group, supporting an individual without pushing what you think they should do, and contracting with an organisation. The requirements to be ethical and trustworthy, to be honest and attuned, and to hold onto hope in the challenging times are all similar.
Here are a couple of my favourite quotes so far about consulting work:
“Organisations naturally move towards growth and healing. Much is already known within the system about what its own health might look like. Masterful consultants do not have the knowledge or own the outcome. They ask the questions and facilitate the learning. Help the client explore their aspirations and the factors that facilitate and inhibit living them.” R. Shaffer, High Impact Consulting
“To meet the client’s goals, we must first ask: Who is the client? For most consultants, the answer is simple: the person paying your bill. This person’s needs must be understood and met. Hence, his or her goals dictate the consulting process.
An alternative school of thought is that the whole organisation is the client. This view defines consulting success as meeting the goals of the total system and leaving the whole organisation healthier as a result of the consulting process… This view requires that the consultant bring to light potentially competing goals embedded in the client organisation and seek to resolve them. It requires that the consultant be willing to put the consulting engagement at risk in the service of the greater needs of the organisation.” Keith Merron, Consulting Mastery
It’s been a real joy and a privilege to be engaged in this kind of work and I’m exploring the possibilities for me in this field going forwards. I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about what I want and where I do my best work and where I thrive. I feel that consulting is part of the answer.
Yesterday I attended an excellent “Vision and Mission” workshop by Christina Giorgio who supports artists and creatives in business development and goal setting. I highly recommend her work. It was excellent and lined up well with a lot of my experiences and observations such as the importance of defining what ‘success’ means for yourself, that there’s no shame in using a day job for income and pursuing your passion without forcing it to be an income stream, and that knowing your personal goals and vision and being able clearly articulate them informs your business goals and vision.
I’m still wrestling with what’s at the heart of my work, it’s nebulous and complex and at times hard for me to see simply because I’m in it and also in some ways tremendously experienced but in other areas only just learning. I’ve been on a long journey of unpicking beliefs that have held me back (such as that you cannot make money and live a passionate, creative life) and looking to see what others before me have done and how, and where their income comes from, and how they balance it all. This year with so many new opportunities and doors opening I’m making time for planning, reflecting, learning. Reaching out to good people and new communities, soaking up new skills and experiences.
On that note, some of the lovely goodies for the gift bags for ticket holders at my Studio Opening this Saturday have arrived. They are going to be gorgeous! Grab your ticket here.