What Competencies, Values, & Roles OD Consultants Need to Effectively Help Clients


OD Process Consulting:  What are the Competencies, Values, and Roles OD Consultants Need to Practice to Effectively Help Clients?


Author:  Nancy L. Zentis, Ph.D.

Here is a competency framework that will help OD consultants when working with clients.

OD Process Competencies are general areas of knowledge and skills needed to effectively help clients through the process of change.  These competencies include relationship building, contracting, data collection and data analysis, feedback reporting, action planning, implementation of change, transfer of knowledge, research, organization systems, facilitation, measurement and evaluation, and transferring the change process so the client can manage it systemically.

One important competency area is Ethical Values. Values give you guidelines to manage your OD conduct when interacting with the client.  Values help you create effective relationships, agreements, roles and responsibilities, deliverables, outcomes, and behaviors.  OD ethical guidelines provide you with the standards that define our professional conduct as OD professionals.

Another OD competency describes the Role of the OD Process Consultant.  OD Professionals must recognize the role they will play when working with clients.  Edgar Schein shared his model for OD Process Consulting and described two consulting roles: The Traditional Role and the Process Consultant Role.  Typically, the traditional role calls for an Expert or Doctor to prescribe a solution, or a Pair of Hands to implement the action plan.

The role of the OD Process Consultant calls for the consultant to help the client identify their needs and assist the senior leadership team by guiding them through the process of change.  The OD Process consultant acts as an internal or external consultant to help the organization determine its new strategic direction for change.  Influence skills are important to gain buy-in and commitment.  Facilitation skills are necessary when leading meetings, facilitating group discussions, and conducting strategic planning sessions.

Often times OD Process consultants use a combination of both expert and process consulting.  OD process consultants bring their collective experience, wisdom, and expertise to help organizations.  A word of caution though, carefully share your expertise or suggestions when appropriate and then move back into the process consulting role by asking probing and inquiry questions to determine what change they’d like to see in their organization.

The key to success as an OD Process Consultant is in building a strong relationship with the client to help them gain clarity and a deep understanding of their problem by using a humble inquiry approach.  Remember to be their advocate and trusted advisor offering your help through the process of change.

Another important competency for an OD Process Consultant is contracting.  A contract identifies how you will work with the client and client team, your roles, responsibilities and expectations.  It defines the deliverables or outcomes and level of commitment needed to be successful and gain agreement.  It also details the resources needed and the timeline. Contracts define how conflicts will be resolved, if they arise, and how to negotiate any changes to the contract. The contracting role is critical to the success of any client relationship.

The OD Process Consulting role is critical to the success of building the client relationship.  Several key competencies are needed to be successful: Interpersonal Communication Skills – building empathy and rapport, and asking open-ended probing questions.  Having an OD mindset to understand the client’s needs and readiness.  Influence skills to encourage the client to do something about their problem.  Facilitation skills to build collaboration and commitment, and problem solving skills to help them solve their own problems.

About IOD:

IOD offers Organization Development Certification Programs online to help participants advance in their career as an OD professional. The OD Process Consultant program provides participants with the tools and skills needed to develop critical OD Process Consulting competencies.

The OD Process Consulting Certification Program (ODPC) is offered online over 8 months, 3 hours per month to maximize your development as an OD Process Consulltant.  Each session is delivered through Go-to-training.  Our expert faculty provide interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning.  For more information, visit our website:  www.instituteod.com



Dr. Nancy Zentis is the CEO of Institute of OD, offering online certification programs for those interested in Organization Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, and OD Advanced Skills courses for ongoing learning.  She can be reached at info@instituteod.com.  For more information about our certification programs and short courses, visit our website www.instituteod.com


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