Process consultant


Process consultant

In organization development, a process consultant is a facilitator who helps a group deal with issues involving the process in a meeting, rather than the tasks. He or she is a specialized type of consultant.

Role in Small Group Development

A process consultant may be used at any time during the Stages of Group Development. Occasionally, a process consultant is used when a group is either in its formative stage, or normative stage. However, more often than not, she or he is brought in when the group is in conflict.

Role in Conflict Resolution

Often a group finds itself in conflict over facts, goals, methods or values. It is the role of the process consultant to help the group reach consensus over the type of conflict it faces.

Once the type of conflict is identified, the process consultant then helps the group work through the steps required to break the impasse.

It is important to note that the process consultant's role is not to solve the problem, but to help the group solve its own problem. The reason for this is because it is the group, not the consultant who will have to live with the consequences of its decision.

Role in Conflict Management

Occasionally, due to the nature of conflict, the process consultant may need to guide the group toward conflict management rather than conflict resolution.

Techniques Used

Initially a process consultant will not lead or participate in a group meeting, but rather will act as an observer. During this time, he or she is observing the group dynamics to determine what interpersonal relationships may be contributing to the group's issues.

At some point, s/he will begin to actively participate in the meeting, by asking clarifying questions or paraphrasing. Eventually, s/he will make his/her observations known by giving the group feedback.

Education Required

To enter this field, a background in psychology and small group learning is helpful. Experience in reading body language and possessing analytic skills is also useful. However, receiving some training in experiential education will probably be the most beneficial.

References

*Block, Peter (1981), "Flawless Consulting," University Associates, Inc


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