The Art of Transformational Consulting is not just a stand-alone professional development opportunity that is complete when the five-day course is over. We just had a clear demonstration that the course itself is only the beginning of a personal and professional transformation that holds great promise for the progressive movement.
Forty organizational consultants came together recently for the first Art of Transformational Consulting Community of Practice gathering. Each of them had attended the Art of Transformational Consulting (ATC) at some point over the last year and a half, and they came to reconnect with each other and with the skills and tools they learned in the course.
In the process, we caught a glimpse of the power and potential of fostering connection, collaboration, and clarity among this network of practitioners. ATC is not just about teaching new tools and skills to help people do what they’ve been doing a little better. It’s about emboldening people to work in new ways, to be stronger agents of change.
Robert Gass said this about what has been happening with the consultants at ATC:
It’s a transformational shift in how they conceive of themselves and the work they do. You know, as a consultant you’re trained to be a service provider. You do whatever the client wants, basically. The challenge that I’ve given them that they are really quite excited by is to say no to that.
Collectively and individually, we as practitioners have the capacity to transform the social change movement into something much more powerful and effective. We have our own vision for doing that, we want to work with clients that are ready to go that extra step, and we need to be much more demanding of our clients — to demand their greatness, to not let them settle for less, to be much bolder.
I found that people have been waiting their whole careers for someone to tell them that.
This transformation starts within each individual, supported by the skills and tools provided at ATC. But for it to take hold in a long-term and broad-based way, personal and professional support among this growing network will be critical.
We saw that kind of support in action during the Community of Practice gathering. Participants shared client case studies with colleagues, and heard stories of how some consultants have applied ATC tools in their client work. It is tough to be a lone wolf organizational consultant, and we loved seeing how the feedback and support of peers gave folks confidence to strengthen their leadership and their practice with clients.
Robert Gass led the group in refresher demonstrations of skills learned during ATC, Courageous Conversations and Inner Knowing, and participants practiced with each other in pairs. Folks appreciated these reminders to be bold and courageous with clients, to trust their intuition, and to deal directly with the challenges that inevitably arise. Practicing new ways of being and seeing those new ways modeled and valued by colleagues was doubly powerful.
The fourth Art of Transformational Consulting just wrapped up in D.C., bringing the number of alumnae to 100. By the end of 2015 that number will grow to about 150. We will announce plans soon for another Community of Practice gathering on the East Coast in spring 2015, and keep looking for ways to weave the network together. We look forward to seeing the impact of our alumni grow as they deepen into their practice and their relationships with one another.
Update 1/27/15: The next ATC Community of Practice gathering is now scheduled for April 14-16 in New York City at Alwan for the Arts in the Financial District. For more details or to RSVP, email Eden Kidane at firstname.lastname@example.org.