Internal Consultancy Skills for Finance Business Partners

The issue

Following internal restructuring, a Department of national Government pooled functional expertise from deployment in regional centres into core resource units to operate across the business throughout the UK.  As Business Partners, these functional experts now operate as internal consultants.

The solution

I am a member of a team of Taylor Clarke Partnership facilitators who have designed and are currently delivering an internal consultancy skills programme for 300 Finance Business Partners (FBPs) at Senior Civil Service level and Grades 5 and 6.

The programme is based on five core skills workshops on emotional intelligence, influencing and persuading, dealing with resistance and managing confrontation, and coaching skills, before separate workshops on internal and advanced consultancy skills.

The internal consultancy skills core programme uses a typical FBP scenario as a case study to provide relevant and practical application of a consultancy model that begins with the consultant’s right to be in the room, and progresses through contracting, data gathering and analysis, diagnosis, feedback to the client, implementation and review. Central to the model is the flexibility to operate as experts (corporate doctor-corporate patient model), assistants (spare pair of hands model) and facilitators (process consultancy model).  These models are described in detail in my blog TA, Consultancy and the Scope for Intervention and Change.

The advanced consultancy skills workshops firstly present a range of tools, tips and techniques for use in each of the internal consultancy skills’ process stages.  Again, these are applied and practised on a typical FBP scenario, in which the consultancy process is more important than the recommended solution.

The final advanced consultancy skills workshop revisits the core consultancy model to consider the dynamics of the communication, interaction and relationship of consulting in business partnership with the client.  We use and share models and concepts from Transactional Analysis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming to illustrate such dynamics.

Fundamental to such a relationship is the frame of reference of the consultant and the client — what each understands and holds in mind as the role, function, status and capability of an internal consultant that is their right to be in the room.  Such a fundamental understanding helps both consultant and client to transact with each other appropriately from their organisational and professional roles.

The Taylor Clarke Partnership

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"Yemen LNG has now matured to the stage where these lessons and values are being delivered by internal resources and this is directly due to the quality of coaching, training, guidance and facilitation which was delivered by the consultants’ multi-talented and highly versatile team. We continue to apply the lessons learned, and are a stronger organisation as a result."

By Phil Campbell, Yemen LNG HR Director

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