Evocative vs. Prescriptive Consulting

girl watering a treeAbout 15 years ago, while still working for The Corporation, I took a wonderful training course on Staff Consulting. Let’s face it, a consultant’s primary job is to tell people what to do (or even, as a friend of mine said recently, to tell them where to go).

I learned several key insights including, "The measures of success of a consultant are: 1) Does your client follow (some of) your counsel?, and 2) Does your counsel succeed?

I also learned the difference between evocative (ask questions) vs. prescriptive (give commands) consulting. Effective consultants do both: LISTEN (ask questions) to evoke what your client / friend really wants; then RECOMMEND (give commands) to prescribe next steps to achieve their goals.

In today’s highly dynamic environment you need to check in with your client regularly (e.g., monthly/quarterly or even daily/weekly) during highly dynamic periods of change.

Image courtesy: Duct Tape Marketing

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