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Top 7 Pairs of C Words for Consultants

By Kevin Eikenberry

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A casual comment by a presenter at a conference we were facilitating led us to quickly build these word pairs for you to consider. Think about each pair, the tension between them, the relative merits of each, and which you value more (and apply) in different situations in your consulting role. We believe you will find this exercise as enlightening as we did.

  1. Coach vs. Correct. When we use our expertise and experience to help others, it is easy to form a judgment about how we think things should be done, then correct other’s actions based on that. It is far more powerful to honor and acknowledge your opinion and the actions of another by offering the difference, alternatives that you see, and use your perspective to coach them into a place that neither of you would have arrived on your own.

  2. Consult vs. Collude. In every consulting relationship, there is a simultaneous pressure to be different and to be similar. Take the time to monitor when you are bringing your difference to others and when you are being drawn into collusions with their ideas and values. Both are important to maintain the relationship.

  3. Contribution vs Cost. We have all heard and used the old adage “time is money”. When we work with others, often we will think about the cost of spending extra time, particularly where there is no apparent benefit to our business or immediate goals. We always must bear in mind that our presence, our time, and our energy is given to others, not used up, and that it contributes to purposes outside of ourselves.

  4. Computational vs. Cognitive. Technology is wonderful. The informational power of the PC this is being written on is awesome, especially when it is connected to the internet. We certainly need to value and use this power. But sometimes rather than collecting and analyzing more data, we need to stop and think. Just think. Often the answers are waiting for us when we think about them.

  5. Colloquial vs. Clear. Communicating with people from the west coast, if you grew up in Louisiana, can be challenging – and not just because of accents. We often use regional phrases—words or phrases that won’t be clear to other people. The challenge is greater, and more important, when you work with people from around the world. It is important with your technical jargon too. Focus on clear communication.

  6. Consistent vs. Chaotic. Consistent actions produce predictable results. We often strive to keep things constant and prevent our world from becoming chaotic. Chaotic situations yield possibilities and can be highly energizing. When you approach a new situation, work to allow things to be somewhat chaotic and see what emerges.

  7. Caring vs. Clinical. Often for expediency or emotional detachment we become like Joe Friday, “Just the facts. Ma’am.” Facts are important, but so are attitudes and emotions. When we become too detached, too clinical, we don’t make the best decisions for ourselves or those around us. Collect information on (and act on) feelings as well as facts.

Kevin Eikenberry and Dr. Jeff Evans. Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp to learn more and subscribe. Dr. Jeff Evans leads the Gaian Group http://gaian.com , a consulting organization that helps organizations successfully navigate large-scale change.

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Article Submitted On: January 27, 2005