I am celebrating 25 years at the Tavistock Institute this year and even after all this time I start each new assignment with a degree of excitement and anxiety.
I’m sure I have this in common with most people and I am fairly certain that if I no longer felt this way, I should stop consulting, coaching, teaching and researching. But there are many things I have learned along the way that keep me grounded and prevent me from over confidence or slumping into the depths of a discourse which wonders if I am good enough.
I have learned to live, for example, with a number of rather uncomfortable feelings, and recognise that they are an important element of the work of the consultant. I have learned to let myself notice and feel them at the same as keeping my head and working with them. So at the extreme end I have felt rather overwhelmed and seemingly caught in the dynamics of the organisation I was working in – a persecutory rush to create and meet timelines which were untenable, or promise outcomes I knew were unlikely for example. I have also felt unable to penetrate a system which asked for support, but which acted in the precise opposite ways, leaving me and colleagues rather isolated in our work. In both cases, I could feel both shameful and angry that I could not take up my role as I liked.
And what I have learned, using Tavistock methodologies, is that all of this can tell me something about myself, yes – but that mostly it is information about the organisation that I am working with, that I and colleagues can use to help them. I live with the anxiety of not knowing everything because I do know plenty that will help.
I know that I have theory and frameworks to hang some of this on, and a way of working that has been tested over 70 years. I have great colleagues and know that I can share my work practice which includes all the highs as well as the concerns I have about what I am doing and get support.
If you would like to deepen your understanding of consultancy practice, develop your competence and experience AND meet a bunch of people who may become your own supportive peer community, join us on P3C 2018.
Camilla Child, TIHR Principal Researcher / Consultant
Applications are now being invited for the next Practitioner Certificate in Consulting and Change (P3C) beginning in January 2018. For a brochure with full details including outline, fees, venue and module dates or if you have any questions, please contact Rachel Kelly: