CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 75, 18th October 2004


  1. Editorial: Consulting, coaching, facilitation and training
  2. Coaching notes: Disney Strategy

1.     Editorial: Consulting, coaching, facilitation and training

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultantWe are in the process of launching a new company to train consultants, and for several months I have been researching and analysing the theory behind what we do.

We claim that we are a change and talent management organisation providing an integrated package of strategy consultancy, facilitation, executive coaching and training designed to improve corporate performance. But can we differentiate between the different processes? This becomes important when we start to transfer these skills to others.

Part of my research has been to read The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz. We claim that, whatever role we are undertaking, we operate in a facilitative manner, so the following table in the book was very interesting to me.

Facilitator roles

Facilitator Facilitative Consultant Facilitative Coach Facilitative Trainer
Third party Third party Third party or group member Third party or group member
Process expert Process expert Process expert Skilled in process
Content-neutral Content expert Involved in content Content expert
Not substantive decision-maker, nor mediator May be involved in content decision making May be involved in content decision making Involved in content decision making

According to Roger Schwarz, a facilitator has no substantive decision-making authority; his/her purpose is to help a group increase its effectiveness by diagnosing and intervening largely on group process and structure.

According to Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting, you are consulting any time you are trying to change or improve a situation but have no direct control over the implementation; success is for your expertise to be used and your recommendations to be accepted. The consultant's objective is to engage in successful actions that result in people or organisations managing themselves differently. This requires three kinds of skills – technical, interpersonal, and consulting skills.

Here are some thoughts from me: -

Consulting is about collecting and analysing information with a view to making a recommendation.

Coaching is about using the process of setting and achieving goals with the client to develop the client's processes for setting and achieving goals. Coaching can be with an individual or with a group.

Facilitation is about managing a process to enable a group to solve a problem – and possibly to develop its process skills as a result.

Training is about the transfer of knowledge or a skill.

A consultant who cannot also coach, facilitate and train is unlikely to see many recommendations implemented – and the purpose of consulting is to achieve change.

I would be very pleased to receive your views on the definitions and distinctions of consulting, coaching, facilitation and training.

We recently held a meeting to plan the launch of our new training business. I wanted to structure the meeting effectively so that we would explore possibilities before getting too involved in details, so I chose to use Robert Dilts' Disney Strategy. Interestingly, we did not have an independent facilitator and we soon got off the track!


2.    Coaching notes: Disney Strategy

Here is an exercise to direct the process of a group through the stages of Dreamer, Realist and Critic by answering and exploring a range of questions for each phase. It was devised by Robert Dilts as a result of modelling Walt Disney's "Imagineering" process of creativity and problem solving.

You will see notes about physiology. This is important to the success of the strategy. Disney went as far as to have specific rooms for each activity so that people were clearly anchored to the correct behaviour for the phase being undertaken.

Dreamer: the person for whom all things are possible – helps to generate alternatives and possibilities; head and eyes looking up, posture symmetrical and relaxed.

The explorer describes in five minutes or less the plan or idea. Group members assume dreamer strategy and physiology. Group members explore dreamer questions to clarify and enrich their understanding of the plan or idea.

  • What is the purpose of the project?
  • What are the potential benefits to customers? investors? partners? team members?
  • What other possibilities are there?
  • What else could the project lead to in the future?

Realist: the person who sorts things out – helps to define actions; head and eyes straight ahead or slightly forward, posture symmetrical and centred.

Group members then explore the realist questions, assuming the strategy and physiology of the realist, in order to clarify specific steps and actions required to enact the plan or idea.

  • What is the time frame for the project?
  • What is the first/next step?
  • What is evidence or feedback that we are making progress?

Critic: the person who picks up on the bits that don't fit – helps to evaluate pay-offs and drawbacks; eyes down, head down and tilted, posture angular.

The group then moves to the critic phase. Critic questions are considered, employing the appropriate strategy and physiology.

  • Who might be positively or negatively affected by the project?
  • Why might someone (customer, investor, partners, team members) object to the project?
  • What are their expectations?
  • What is missing?
  • Under what circumstances would you not proceed with the project?

The group may keep recycling through the phases to make successive approximations of the plan.


We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

THIS IS A FREE PUBLICATION! Please SHARE it willingly with a friend or colleague who could benefit from knowing more about corporate coaching.

Copyright 2004 all rights reserved.

To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE to this Newsletter: /newsletter.html

To unsubscribe, go to the address above and enter your e-mail address. If you use more than one e-mail address, be sure to enter the same one that you used when you subscribed. If you want to change your e-mail address, then subscribe with the new address and unsubscribe with the old one.

Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. Be sure to visit the Brefi Group web site at

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: 08450 678 222, or +44 (0)121 704 2006 (international)