On helping – review and moving on

Can’t believe nearly a month has gone by since my last blog… but hey it is supposedly ‘summer’ and there has been the distraction of the olympics.  But I thought I’d better return to my inquiry into helping..

There are a number of other chapters in Schein’s book after the one on humble inquiry, but they are more about applications of the ideas covered in all the blogs to date, rather than new information.  Continue reading

On helping – the art of humble inquiry

Having made the case that it is most appropriate to start out as a helper in the role of process consultant (the what and the why), Schein goes into humble inquiry – as the ‘how’ of being a process consultant.

Humble inquiry helps to do three key things – firstly, equalise the relationship by making what the client knows become all important; secondly, shows that as the helper you are attentive and interested in the client’s situation; and finally, it helps get more information and remove some of the ambiguity and unknowns from the situation so that as the helper you have more of an idea of what to do next. Continue reading

On helping – traps as a helping relationship forms

Aha my motivation to carry on reading and blogging about Schein’s book has been given a helpful(!) boost by a friend who commented in an email that she was enjoying reading it ‘by proxy’…thanks for the help..

Moving on from the general understanding of relationships in everyday life in terms of reciprocity, deference and demeanour.  The third chapter of Schein’s book on Helping starts to focus on the helping relationship with a particular emphasis on how that relationship ‘starts out’.  At the point where someone asks for help or offers it a number of social inequities and role ambiguities some to the fore.  It is a tense moment full of pitfalls and traps for both the potential helper and the potential client – but we only really notice it when it all goes wrong. Continue reading

On helping – reciprocity, deference and demeanour

So after ‘Getting started‘, I have now read Chapter Two of Schein’s book on Helping.  Chapter Two is a bit of a scene setter about the cross-cultural principles underpinning social life and relationships in general – rather than about helping per se.  Schein emphasises that it is important to understand this “essence of relationships” so that the special-ness of a helping relationship can then be understood.

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On helping – getting started

Last summer when I came across the work of Schein on research, I found a book that he had written called “Helping: how to offer, give and receive help“.  I bought the book in early November, just as T847 started so it has sat there largely unread.  I’ve started it a couple of times and then faltered – distracted with ‘real’ studying.  And then I tried again when the course finished.  It’s not the book – I realised that I am really bad at really taking things in and following an argument if I don’t turn to my notepad to take notes and my blog to summarise key points – I don’t think about what I am learning.  I can’t just read books – I have to interact with them if I am going to get anything from the process.

So I am starting again – a short burst of temporary purposeful activity to inquire into the notion of helping.  I figured writing a series of blogs as I go along may help with the momentum – and the learning process.

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Insights into ‘research’ from Schein

I have recently come across Schein’s work which links to research.  I have come across him before – as one of the oft quoted theorists on organisational culture.  In fact it is this work that is mentioned in the wikipedia article about him.

Schein’s work draws and comments on that of Lewin – a ‘thinker’ included in the Systems Thinkers book by Ramage and Shipp.  Given that, I feel happy adding Schein into my interpretation of a ‘systems thinker/practitioner’.

So what does Schein offer to my thinking…. Continue reading