Diary planning is currently underway for the next steps in the co-coaching experiment. A quick recap: find two organisations that are significantly different but have an areas where they are essentially facing the same challenges. Bring the two organisations together. Help them find ways to work together to address their common challenges.

I’ve been putting some thought into what happens next, now that after the initial face-to-face session there is consensus that this might be an approach that has some legs.

Thinking so far goes along these lines:

Firstly to put two dates in the diary: one in the next month and then one for 4-6 weeks later. The purpose of that second session will become clear…

The first session will comprise 3-4 people from each organisation. They might be paired (for example, both organisations’ HR Director), or maybe not. The crucial thing is that participants must be willing and open minded: cynics at this stage will probably kill the process.

The first session has a structure along the lines of:

Introductions – everyone gets to know who each other is; ground rules for the session

Thinking so far – a short presentation in which we run through how we got to today, and a summary of the output from initial discussions (you can see that here).

Top challenges – each participant outlines one or two key challenges that they’ve currently got on their plate: what it is, why it’s important to them, what a successful outcome would look like (the participants will have preparation for this as a brief task before the session itself).

Teaming up – can any of these challenges be worked on collaboratively? Are there some natural pairs? Can we form small teams (or fewer, bigger teams) who can look at these challenges over the next 4-6 weeks to see if progress can be made?

That last step brings us to the point of putting the second session in the diary. If there are things that can be worked on, we already have the next milestone. If there aren’t things, then it can be cancelled.

If we do move forward from that point, then the discussions about value to the organisations can begin. Only once value is understood can real conversations about the sensible pricing of this service be understood. I’m trying to find models that aren’t based on hourly or daily rates, but are much more focused on end value. I’m increasingly convinced that traditional expert-based, hourly-charged professional consulting models are broken.

The intention would be to provide support and coaching to the small work groups if they do spin up, and that would be an area where technology could support the process (simple collaborative services could come to the fore). At the second meeting milestone we would then be in a position to either conclude the process for the experience or insight to date, or more hopefully, formalised co-venture projects of some description.

And that is where it would begin to get really interesting…

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