Consultancy is primarily about involvement in change, or a process of change for a consultor or client, enabled by the consultant. The change involved might be in the work, home or personal life of an individual or in an organisation and how it works, functions and what it does.
Peter Block comments,
your goal or end product in any consulting activity is some kind of change.
The word ‘consultancy’ or ‘consultant’ will bring to mind and body a whole range of emotions , thoughts and expectations. So, as a consultant employed by Christian organisations, churches and individuals I thought it would be helpful to outline the model of consultancy I use: the non-directive approach, developed by Methodist Minister George Lovell.
‘Non-directive’ does not imply a ‘laissez faire’ attitude (non-interference), nor an invitation to do what you like, but it is underpinned by well-grounded social theory. It is a means of working with people, facilitating their understanding of their situation and needs, and working towards their own resolution without the consultant offering conclusions and solutions. It aims to lead to long term growth in the capacity of the person being consulted or their organisation to deal with such problems effectively on their own in the future.
My own consultancy model is based largely on Lovell’s non-directive approach, however my way of working is heavily influenced by an understanding of the world in which we currently live that is increasingly chaotic and complex. The process stimulates a process of self-determination and self-help, and encouraging people to develop themselves and/or the organisations of which they are a part, by thinking and acting for themselves. Those encouraged to think and act for themselves through this process tend to be far more successful at addressing change.
“I have worked with Tim Lea as the tutor in charge of consultancy studies on the York St John University MA in Consultancy for Mission and Ministry. Tim was a lively, engaged student with much practical experience of imaginative church work especially in the field of pioneering and fresh expressions. He applied this thoughtfully to the tasks, models and activities the course exposes students to. Observing him conducting consultancy sessions, both on his own and with other consultancy students, he always demonstrates a sensitivity and an ability to listen carefully. He works well with clients, grasping their issues and helping them develop solutions, which are of clear benefit to them. He has had the courage and skill to try a range of approaches, which indicate his desire to reflect continuously on his practice and improve how he works. I have no hesitation in recommending him as a consultant.”
David Dadswell, Tutor at York St John University and Director of Systems Leadership Consulting
“I was introduced to Tim through the work of Rural Ministries as he was tasked with helping a group of Church leaders develop a Learning Community focussed on mission in the rural Scottish Borders and North Northumberland. Tim’s expertise in facilitating discussions around the development and direction of the group were clear for all to see. His manner is friendly, yet always thoroughly professional. We look forward to his further input and consultancy as our group develops.”
Alistair Birkett, Gateways, Scottish Borders,
“Tim’s down-to-earth and personable approach means that he engages with people at many different levels. His enthusiasm and humour are infectious and authentic, and he’s an inspiring speaker with an ability to draw a lively audience response.
Tim’s ability to cut through any clap-trap and settle with searing accuracy on the root of any issue, then gently tease-out a solution, makes him an invaluable member of any team – equally at home as a team member, or team leader.
We have worked together on a wide variety of projects concerning fresh expressions of church, including planning and delivering training events, strategy meetings and more general team discussions.
Linda Rayner, (United Reformed Church Co-ordinator for Fresh Expressions)