On Learning from Challenging Assignments

February 14, 2011

Sometimes the worst situations offer the best learning. In a gathering of colleagues recently we shared stories of some challenging consulting assignments. Yes, there were difficult clients and some harrowing stories, but each of my colleagues had reflected on their experiences, learned some lessons and allowed the learning to inform how they are in relationship with clients subsequently.

Tough assignments can (sometimes) offer the best insights – here are some of the questions I’ve reflected on in the last few months.

• How am I being “used” here?
• In the service of who’s truth and reality?
• How is what’s happening to me relevant to my client’s dilemma?
• In what way is this situation my client’s experience?
• What have I contributed to the situation?
• What problem did my contribution solve for me?
• What’s useful about my dilemma?

What kinds of questions would help you reflect on your practice?

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