Consultant as Expert or Facilitator?

As leadership and organizational development consultants, we often find ourselves bumping into commonly held beliefs of what a consultant is or does. This has opened up a conversation for us regarding how we, at Trebuchet Group, orient to ourselves, our work, and our clients.

To help clarify, we have begun talking about two key distinctions:  The "Expert Model", and the "Facilitator Model."


In the "Expert Model," people seek consulting services in order to access specific knowledge or expertise. In this situation, the person seeking the expertise believes they do not have the necessary information or skill themselves, so they look for it from someone else. For instance, I recently purchased a new residence. During the inspection, it was noted that there was discolored piping coming from the water heater. My reaction was to contact a master plumber and follow his recommendation without reservation. Why? Because my orientation was:  "I don't know, and you do.” There are many situations in which this approach may be wholly appropriate. In others, however, it may not ultimately serve our best interests.

At Trebuchet Group, the model we employ is one we call the "Facilitator Model." In this model, we begin by assuming that our client does know. Not only do they know, but also they've been doing the best they've known how to do. We respect their knowledge, their insights, their challenges, and their questions. Our clients know their world far better than we ever will, so we don’t presume we have "the answer" that's best for them. What we do know, however, is that by building a relationship of mutual trust and respect; bringing deep interest and listening; and engaging in powerful processes and conversations, we can facilitate a journey of growth and discovery. This journey aligns with our client's committed intentions to produce the results they desire, and builds new and lasting capabilities. We are always delighted and honored to partner in this endeavor.

Bekki Smith, Master Consultant and Workability Architect  

Bekki Smith, Master Consultant and Workability Architect