Outside Consultants

Outside Consultants

Outside consultants can be extremely influential: as both Theresa and Carol discovered after working alongside consultants who came to work within their organizations. Carol knew instinctively that she was both fair and intuitive in her approach to her colleagues and the way they worked, but felt that her actions were often blocked by more senior managers. She was aware that others had written her off because she didn't have a degree, would volunteer for everything and would question anything she didn't understand or agree with. 'Some outside consultants came in to work with us on a change program. Until then, it was all gut feeling with me. I didn't have the right language and it was very frustrating. I hadn't had any training and then these consultants told me what was happening. I talked to them, I went on training courses, I ran some communications workshops, and I then had the language to analyze what had happened and to know that I had been right all along.'

When Theresa joined her organization's Business Development department one of her successes involved helping to run an advanced management program with an outside consultant. 'I was apprehensive about what the consultant would think about me, but he was wise enough not to mind and the whole exercise marked the beginning of a new phase in my working life when I began to have fun again.'

The more senior the manager, the greater the need to ensure that his or her own thinking and ideas are tested by a detached, but empathetic and experienced, person. Managers and directors at the top of organizations often feel isolated and there are few other people around at the same level with whom it is possible, or even desirable, to discuss uncertainties or thoughts for the future, and an outside coach can prove an invaluable source of inspiration and clarity.

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