Organizational Role analysis by telephone: the client I met only once

Book Chapter

Title: Organizational Role analysis by telephone: the client I met only once
Year: 2006
Authors Mersky, R. R.

Like many — if not most — of my consulting colleagues, I am working with clients

more and more over the telephone. This is largely due to the advent of executive

coaching and the increasingly complicated nature of peoples' professional and

personal lives. These phone sessions supplement face to face work and generally

take place when clients are traveling or are otherwise too busy. While work can be

accomplished, it is still considered a compromise. In a sense, it is a 'holding action'

until the consultant and client can meet again.

For three years, in contrast this norm, I have been conducting an organizational role

consultation by phone with a client I have only met once. This meeting took place

over a year after we had begun our work. Before then, despite my suggestions that

we work face to face, my client would not make herself available to do so. Citing

too little time, too much distance, or too much work, she communicated to me

strongly that she preferred working by phone.

Since this was an unprecedented professional experience, I sought out ways to better

understand this case in particular and the possibilities of doing consultancy over the

phone in general. This paper is a study of the specific dynamics, restrictions and

advantages of work by telephone that may also occur when one does a combination

of face to face and phone work with a client. My working hypothesis is that working

exclusively by phone does change the way we work, how we undertake our

interventions, and how we develop an understanding of our clients and our

professional selves.

I will briefly summarize the consultation by describing my client and the course of

our work. In the next two sections (Hypotheses About My Client; Intervention

Strategies), I ask: " What does this preference to work by phone tell me about my

client and how does that insight guide me in working with her?". I conclude with

reflections on the professional challenges and limitations of this work.

Keywords: Transitional object; object-relations; mourning; role objects; postmodern organizations.
Language: English

Publisher: Karnac
Publisher Location: London
Title of Book:
Start page: 113
End page: 125

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