Sometimes All It Takes Is Asking The Right Questions

Sometimes All It Takes Is Asking The Right Questions

Not too long ago I was approached by a friend, an organizational consultant who asked me for advice on giving a price quote for a training solution she had in mind.

Essentially, she had delivered a few management skills workshops for mid-level managers in the company, and the feedback she got was really good. 

In fact, the L&D manager who ordered the job was so pleased that she wanted to give this training to every manager who will be hired or promoted to a management position.

The only problem was, that the company hires or promotes employees every so often, at a rate that does not allow for mass workshops.

“What if I could take the content from the consultant’s workshop and train the new managers myself?” thought the ambitious L&D manager.

Thrilled with her idea, the L&D manager reached out to my consultant friend and asked her to develop a training kit for new managers about management skills.

The kit should be delivered to employees, and also have a deliverable to guide the L&D manager, or whoever will be in charge of the training. 

My consultant friend was a bit baffled at this request, but agreed to write a proposal for this job.

Shortly thereafter, she realized that it wasn’t an easy task.

I listened carefully to her story, and after a short silence I asked:

“Do you really believe that a written kit for an L&D manager and new managers can give them the management skills they need for their job?

In your workshops you told me that they participate in conflict management, identifying communication styles, managing group dynamics, and more.  

Can they acquire these skills in a one-on-one setting? 

“That’s a good question. I guess I didn’t think this all the way through,” she replied. 

By saying Yes to this offer, however tempting it may sound, you might find yourself going through a lot of effort building something that no one will end up using.

Here’s the thing, sometimes our clients think they know what is the right solution for them. 

More often than not, the solution they have in mind is not going to deliver them the result they are looking for. 

It is our job as a learning professional to ask the right questions and shift the discussion toward the desired outcome, rather than a fancy deliverable. 

Don’t be afraid to challenge your client’s request. Ask the right questions and help them focus on their desired outcome. They don’t care about deliverables, they care about results. 

They will appreciate you a lot more and perceive you as a trusted advisor, rather than just an order taker.

Have any other tips to share? I’ll be happy to learn.

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