If you’re considering applying to the Art of Transformational Consulting, you may be wondering if it is worth it: worth the time away from home life and family, worth putting client work on hold for a week, worth the travel and worth the expense.
Since participating in the May 2014 cohort of ATC, I’ve shared with many colleagues why this training was beyond “worth it” for me.
One colleague emailed me, “I saw [the training advertised] but also saw the price tag. How do you think that it helped your business? I don’t want to go in there and not really learn anything.”
Here is what I wrote to her in reply:
I can say that hands down, this has been the single best investment I have made in myself and in my business in the last 5 years. Here are a few reasons that the Art of Transformational Consulting made such an impact on me.
1) The philosophy: The orientation of this training is that before we can help transform society, movements, organizations, other people, we have to transform ourselves. So, there is a lot of focus on connecting to personal purpose and vision for the work in a very deep way. It comes from the orientation that consultants and coaches are the “doulas,” if you will, of social change—and that we must be able to tap into our authentic power to make the greatest impact on the world. I am a changed person, more confident and able to access my power, more able to manage conflict, since this training. The impact of that on my work with clients, I believe, is huge.
2) The methodology: This is an immersive, learn-through-doing training. Every concept that is taught is practiced in real-time. There is lots of partner work, reflective journaling, peer coaching, and deep workshopping of real and challenging situations from your work and life. The 5.5 days are PACKED, and exhausting, in a good way. It is also FUN—we had daily dance parties each afternoon. I laughed so much everyday (I cried too).
3) The materials: You will get an enormous binder of tools, resources, exercises, readings, etc. on all sorts of topics related to organizational development, facilitation, group process, coaching, diversity, giving feedback, etc. I have used something from this binder nearly every day since the training, and I have passed many of the tools on directly to clients. These tools are all available online — but using them in real time was immensely valuable. What’s more (and I didn’t know this before signing up) after the training, for 9 months you will get an email every day with a “practice” to work on that continues on the themes of the training.
4) The 360: you will send out a 360 evaluation to your clients, which they will fill out about you, and then you will review & process at the training. They will rate you on everything from your ability to manage conflict to your ability to manage your invoicing to your effectiveness at helping them reach their goals. I learned so much from this… and can’t imagine how I would otherwise ever get that kind of honest feedback from so many of my clients.
5) The teacher: At the risk of sounding like a groupie, Robert Gass is a true master at what he does. I learned so much simply from watching him work with the group and with individuals in real time. While Robert has built an incredible career working with top leaders across many sectors, he is humble to a fault. He is a generous and brilliant soul. I am grateful I got to work with him while he is still teaching, as he won’t be teaching forever.
6) The cohort: being in a room with 25 other social change consultants—wow. An amazing, amazing group. Probably the most diverse training I’ve been to in terms of race, age, and experience type. Since I started my business, I have never felt at home in groups of people who also run businesses because I feel like more of a social justice person than a business person. In this group, I could be fully myself.
So, that’s what made Art of Transformational Consulting “worth it” for me. I encourage you to take the leap and experience for yourself the tremendous worth it can provide to you, your practice, and your clients.
The next Art of Transformational Consulting is scheduled for May 2015 in Oakland, CA. Learn more about the training and how to apply.
Sarah From is a consultant, coach and facilitator who helps leaders and organizations to do their best work. She has provided organizational development consulting, leadership development training, and coaching to hundreds of individuals at more than 50 organizations across the United States. Sarah is a facilitator with the Support Center for Nonprofit Management in NYC and has been a guest trainer for the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She is based in Brooklyn, NY. Check out her website and blog, Do Your Best Work.