What Is the Consulting Approach?

In 2021, in the midst of the global health crisis, our team turned its attention to the experience we offer our customers. This exercise led us to develop a shared vision, which now guides our approach at OROKOM. We examined the consulting approach within a framework consisting of 6 stages, a solution presented to us by Prométhée Consultants.

Are you familiar with this approach? It can be used by any professional in any sector, as long as that person works with others.

This approach is not juste appropriate for large-scale projects: it also applies to day-to-day dealings with our clients, whether it's to follow up on an active request or to strengthen our relationships with our various partners.

The Consulting Approach as Defined by OROKOM

Before delving into the 6 stages of the consulting approach, here's how we define this concept internally.

At OROKOM, committing to a consulting approach is first and foremost an act of humility towards ourselves and others. This humility reveals our inner strength, and the courage we need to pursue this approach.

It can also mean not knowing the answer right away but having the strength of conviction to guide and accompany stakeholders on their journey to find that answer. Sometimes, it's enough to rely on one's "savoir-être," commitment experience, professional skills, and knowledge to make the most compelling decision for the organization.

This posture is reflected in all our roles within our teams and projects. From the very start and throughout the consulting process, it involves a wide range of skills, such as listening to the other, posing the right questions to better understand or go further, synthesizing where necessary, reflecting, analyzing, and providing food for thought.

The OROKOM team

This posture also implies knowing how to:

  • guide the discussion;

  • communicate the consequences of a decision;

  • suggest possible solutions at the right moment;

  • take advantage of information sharing;

  • take advantage of multiple areas of expertise within work teams;

  • teach others and ourselves.

Without being all-encompassing, this list provides a good grasp of this shared vision, increasingly present in organizations where social responsibility and efficiency go hand in hand.

In a nutshell, the consulting approach becomes a way of being with our work teams, our customers, and our external collaborators. It permeates everything we do and guides us in our dealings with others. The consulting approach is truly a posture that inspires us and leads us to develop a shared vision with others.

The Stages of the Consulting Approach

The 6 Stages of the Consulting Approach

The 6 stages of the consulting approach are anchoring, contact, contract, diagnosis, work and exit.

1. Anchoring

Every time we undertake a process within our team or with our customers, we take stock of ourselves. We give ourselves the means to be present, not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.

As individuals, we also use this anchoring to establish our intentions for intervention:

  • at the start of a relationship;

  • at the start of a project;

  • in preparation for a call.

Alone or as part of a team, anchoring is that propensity that enables us to be "present" and ready for commitment.

2. Contact

Contact means meeting the other person in a neutral place where we can communicate and exchange ideas, and where each of us retains our own identity while accepting the other's presence.

This stage enables us to exchange views on the past, present, and future. This sharing of information enables us to get to know the other person better, and thus to better relate to him or her.

3. Contrat

The contract is one of collaboration: you are jointly responsible for the success of the process you are about to embark upon and during which you will work together. This is an important step, because it enables us to agree on a clear approach, without ambiguities or misunderstandings. In other words, it's an agreement.

There are 4 facets to explore in order to define this agreement:

  • What the other person wants from me: their expectations;

  • What the other person doesn't want from me: what they don't need;

  • What I want from the other person: what I need to move forward;

  • What I want from myself: in line with my goals.

This step enables you to better manage expectations and ensure mutual commitment, so that you can continue the process with a clear sense of direction.

4. Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis means painting a clear picture of the situation. Together with our client, we draw the most realistic and objective picture possible, so that we can take joint action in our respective fields of expertise.

To create a realistic picture, a good diagnosis should be based on:

  • simplicity

  • the importance of focusing on factual data;

  • the ability to put one's own point of view into perspective;

  • the ability to gather several points of view.

During this stage, we generally try to answer 3 key questions:

  • Why change?

  • Change what?

  • Change how?

These questions will enable us to pursue our work int eh right direction.

5. Work

All the efforts made in the previous 4 stages set the scene for work that is efficient and productive. As you will have guessed, this is the action stage, which consists of carrying out the mandate or of having a follow-up conversation with your partners.

This stage is without doubt the most salient and concrete aspect of the mandate. You will have to produce a report with results, recommendations, possible solutions, and so on. You will be in the thick of the action with yourself, your team, and other stakeholders.

It's interesting to note that during this stage, it may sometimes be necessary to revisit a previous stage, such as the contract or diagnosis stage, for example. New situations or data obtained along the way sometimes require us to reconsider, clarify, exchange or change. It's a small step backward that enables us to take a bigger step forward in our work.

6. Exit

It's often said that the first few minutes of an interview are important for putting on a good face. But at the end of a mandate or a conversation with a customer, you also need to know how to end on the right note.

Why? The gesture you make at this stage completes the cycle. We need to know how to conclude an event with a gesture that allows us to step back and:

  • recognize strengths and areas for improvement;

  • celebrate successes and achievements;

  • learn for the future.

And Finally...

All in all, such a posture is a guarantee of effectiveness and efficiency. It allows us to co-construct the future and reduces the risk of conflict. This approach brings together the optimum conditions for delivering the experience to which we aspire, i.e.:

  • a solid client relationship;

  • a healthy client relationship;

  • an authentic client relationship.

Nothing but benefits! So why not start using it?

This article was written by Julie Dupont Lebel.