‘Flawless Consulting’ by Peter Block - Book Review by John Ainley

By John, Jul 31 2014 01:44PM

“In the end it is our authenticity, the way we manage ourselves and our connection to our clients that is our methodology, our marketing strategy and the fruit of our labour.” Peter Block.

Peter is a writer about consultancy and a thinker about community; he is not a coach nor is he a trainer. He is a man who has discovered some simple truths through experience that, I believe, are extremely powerful in the world of coaching as well as in living our lives.

Peter’s book is essentially about learning the art of influence without power, he encourages clients and consultants to work together as real partners and hold the perspective of consulting from the perspective of possibility rather than problem.

He asserts that clients make decisions about consultants based upon trust, and that when we ‘sell’ ourselves potential clients feel manipulated. The suggestion is that we should enable the client to express directly any negative feelings, the more the client can express the feelings of distrust, the freer they will be to consider our offer on its merits. Resistance is not only predictable and natural; it is necessary.

Peter encourages the shift of mind from: ‘we are here to solve a problem, to we are here to create a new future’ and that our key challenge is to help the client be open to discovery. He believes that as soon as we call something a problem we signal that something is wrong and needs fixing, and the danger is that the client may well start to believe that they are the problem.

He believes that we live in a world that is more interested in our deficiencies than in our strengths and gifts and that this is so common that we have come to believe that this focus is useful, it is not. He suggests that organisations focus on weaknesses because they breed self-doubt and self -doubt enables control more easily.

Peter’s work has parallels across the coaching world. He believes in strengths; (Buckingham etc.), He believes in the power of thought (Kline) and in Behaviourism (Peltier).

I have found Peter to be an inspiration to me; he speaks to the authentic self and encourages open and honest conversations. He has been the best of influences on my own work and development.


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