PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process
Phillip April 15, 2024 No Comments

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process


Capella University

PSY FPX 6730 Consultation Psychology

Prof. Name



This discovery document will detail the initial consultation phase between a consultant and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The contents of this document will cover two discovery approaches and their corresponding strengths and weaknesses. There will also be a short list of consulting competencies the consultant will abide by and discovery questions the consultant will inquire about directly to the client. Lastly, some strengths and challenges to the discovery process will be articulated for review.

Consulting Discovery: The Road to Discovery

Case Study

The case study to be used for this assessment is the need for a universal leadership development program within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA, which is the largest transportation organization in the United States, is comprised of six individual agencies, all with individual leadership structures and different versions of leadership development programs. Each of these programs has wide differences and does not intersect at all with other agencies even though there are often transfers of employees between agencies for promotional opportunities.

The organization has decided that it wants to create a universal leadership development program that spans all agencies; an I/O consultant has been tasked to create this leadership development program. Aside from building this program, some of the issues and challenges that would be faced are a lack of an emerging leader’s roadmap as well as leadership training for some long-time members of management who rely on old techniques to both manage tasks as well as lead and inspire their teams.

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process

As I maneuver through this process, I have been offered the support and backing of several of the agency’s deputy chiefs as well as the Chief People Officer who oversees all human resources functions across every agency. Each agency Chief has allowed me access to their frontline leadership to better understand the talent that exists and allow for insight into their leadership practices and principles. It should be noted that some of the behaviors of this initiative are resistance; many managers do not subscribe to the changes being proposed.

As it was stated previously, the benefits to the MTA are almost beyond measure. The MTA is an organization with over 70,000 people with a very wide range of mobility; this means a sustainable leadership development program would allow for a pipeline of leadership from within which would also benefit other areas such as employee engagement and retention efforts.

Consulting Discovery: Comparison of Discovery Approaches

Discovery Approaches

This section of the assessment will discuss two distinct approaches to be considered for the discovery portion of the consultation. This phase and the approaches displayed are designed to either diagnose problems or figure out what strengths exist; there also exists the possibility that both outcomes may apply. The first approach we will discuss is the “strength-based” approach, the second approach that will be compared is the “process consultation” method. Both types will be explained in detail as well as each option’s, strengths and limitations.

Strength-Based Approach

To begin with the “strengths-based” approach to discovery, Block (2011, p. 159) defines the strengths-based approach as “a way of thinking different from diagnosis– one that focuses more on possibilities than problems. Instead of looking at what is wrong, at deficiencies, we look at what is working, what the strengths and gifts are, and to seek to deepen and take advantage of those assets.” The strengths-based approach would allow individuals to recognize their potential and through developed means, act on this embracing of self-value and convert it to improvement.

Another description can be found in an article by Stoerkel (2019) which states that “the strengths-based approach is centered around the idea that the client is the actor or agent of change — the approach is highly dependent on how the individual processes their thoughts and emotions. It allows for open communication, encouraging individuals to identify value and assemble their strengths and capacities.”

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process

Also associated with the strengths-based approach are the concept of resilience and resilient thinking. As articulated by Bryant et al. (2021, p. 1408), “Resilience is a concept that appears frequently in literature on strengths-based approaches — using this notion, strengths are generally understood in terms of individual attributes such as skills, attitudes, and cognition that could be drawn upon to manage the stress of the immediate environment and which can be learned if the correct opportunities or interventions are made available.” Shaping individuals through resilience modeling to adapt resilient ways of thinking allows those to cope with stressors and to “take greater charge of issues affecting their health and well being” (Bryant et al. 2021, p. 1408).

The MTA is a large organization with many skilled individuals, each agency within the larger collective has hundreds if not thousands of individuals who possess important strengths. A consultant would most likely spend an enormous amount of time assessing these strengths. However, once a viable way to tap into these strengths is discovered, an approach such as the strengths-based approach may become the needed approach.

Process Consultation

Introducing process consultation to this discussion, Kwon et al. (2020, p. 324) state that this method “proposes that the client should take ownership of the problem-solving process, while the consultant facilitates a jointly driven inquiry process to identify appropriate steps toward achieving the client’s goals. To establish a continuous helping relationship between clients and consultants, process consultation aligns with the core philosophy of OD.” The process consultation method is rooted in three models of helping techniques:

  • “Model One: Providing Expert Information” (Schein, 1990, p. 59).
  • “Model Two: Playing Doctor” (Schein, 1990, p. 60).
  • “Model Three: Process Consultation” (Schein, 1990, p. 60).

This process conditions clients to discover problems on their own and utilize their problem-solving methods to rectify their issues. However, for process consultation to be effective, Heracleous (2022, p. 3) states that “consultants must suspend their prior biases about the client semicolon and also must aim to convey skills to the client so that the client can help themselves in the future.”

Strengths and Weaknesses of Both Approaches

For the discovery phase of this project, it is no doubt important to assess both chosen models for their strengths and weaknesses. Comparing these two approaches will show that they both have benefits and hurdles associated with them. To observe some of the benefits of the two, starting with the strengths-based approach, the below list provides some clear general principal strengths that serve as its cornerstone:

  1. “Everyone possesses a uniqueness that helps them evolve and move along their journey. These characteristics may include potential strengths and capabilities” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  2. “What receives attention or focus becomes what the client serves for and, eventually, a reality” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  3. “Be careful with your words and language. Our language creates our reality” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  4. “Accept change period life and our world are ever evolving; don’t resist” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  5. “Support others as authentically as you can. You will see that your relationships are deeper and more meaningful” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  6. “The client is the storyteller of their own story” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  7. “Build upon what you know and experience to dream of the future” (Stoerkel, 2019).
  8. “Capacity building has multiple facets and organizations. Be flexible” (Stoerkel, 2019). 9.

    “Be collaborative. Be adaptive in value differences” (Stoerkel, 2019).

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process

Much can be achieved by focusing and capitalizing on the strengths of individuals within a workforce in the general sense. On the other side the strengths-based approach does have some precise disadvantages as well. In the previously referenced article, Stoerkel (2019) mentions that “some consider the main focus of the strength-based approach to be its primary disadvantage; while it’s great to focus on strengths, we should not utterly neglect weaknesses — if weaknesses are poorly managed, they may not be monitored, leaving the person less effective.” This is interesting because in my experience, observing weak points was always done on a group level, not on an individual level.

Regarding general and specific strengths and weaknesses associated with process consultation, much like the strengths-based approach, this method too has its highlights and shortcomings. The previously mentioned reference states three potential challenges for this process:

  • “The client may prefer an expert or doctor instead” (Heracleous, 2022, p. 4).
  • “The client may not appreciate what process consultation entails in terms of the client’s active role” (Heracleous, 2022, p. 4).
  • “The process consultant may not have the listening and diagnostic skills needed” (Heracleous, 2022, p. 4).

Highlighting the strength of the process consultation model, it involves deep collaboration between the consultant and the client. This allows for visible progress through its participatory nature. The leadership at the MTA can be a brittle group in terms of outsiders critiquing their leadership. Many of the management has been around for decades and may adopt an “if it is not broken, do not fix it” mentality. However, they do respect professionals and the process consultations methods of working alongside the client may be what gets them to buy into the method.

Further into the Discovery Process

As we progress into the discovery process, it is important to develop some guidelines for all participating parties to follow. With that said, there will be a set of discovery questions and guidelines presented to better engage with the MTA on how to create this leadership development program. While the questions can be altered later, below is an introduction to show that the consultant and the client are focused on the same goals. Below begins the first iteration of these questions, guidelines, and competencies.

Guidelines for Discovery

  1. How would the MTA envision using the individual strengths of its workforce to help develop this Universal Leadership Development program?
  2. The strengths-based approach utilizes deep collaboration to achieve its goal. Remember number nine from the above-listed cornerstones “Be collaborative. Be adaptive in value differences” (Stoerkel, 2019). How will the various agencies across the MTA embrace this concept to put aside their rooted agency operations to collaborate on a universal leadership development process?
  3. Understandably, some may think the consultant’s role is to completely control the process. However, process consultation involves the client being a deep part of the process. Concerning everyone’s responsibilities, is the frontline leadership at the MTA prepared to be completely engaged and participatory in the process consultation method if utilized?
  4. Within the strengths-based approach is an area of interest called “Appreciative Inquiry (AI) which is defined as “a type of action research that provides a process for examining whether an organizational initiative is consistent with the goals agreed upon jointly by organizational actors” (Brunetto et al. 2020, p. 309). Much like question number three above, can the MTA assure that agency executives will be cooperative on this project?
  5. Kwon et al. (2020, p. 325) state that “the critical challenge facing process consultants is the need to develop multicultural competencies to address the group dynamics of a highly diverse workforce is effective.” The MTA being centered in New York City is a direct reflection of the multicultural melting pot that the city imbues with its 70,000 plus employees. How will the leadership at the MTA balance its participation in this project alongside the consult using process consultation methods demonstrate inclusivity of the large number of ethnic employees across all agencies?

Consulting Competencies

This section discusses the competencies needed to bring about a successful consultation. Below is a list of competencies that are relative to this consulting endeavor with an organization such as the MTA.

  • “Leadership Skills: Skill and vision creation, developing consensus, enhancing others’ abilities, tolerating ambiguity and change, taking risks, and enabling others to act are essential components and a consultants toolkit” (Morin, 2020, p. 53). Although the consultant will be working with the MTA’s leadership, they too should exude the confidence of a leader who can get results through other leaders.
  • “Communication Skills: Communication skills play an important role in marketing one’s services – equally important is having excellent interviewing skills” (Morin, 2020, p. 52). Communicating with leaders across the different agencies of the MTA may be a daunting task, but a necessary one to properly develop this leadership development project.
  • “The ability to deliver: The most crucial skill a consultant must possess is the ability to deliver tangible results. The ability to deliver is contingent on possessing good critical thinking and problem-solving skills.” (Morin, 2020, p. 52). The executive leadership at the MTA rightfully wants to see tangible and gradual results. The consultant will demonstrate this during the length of this development project as well as at its end.

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process

  • “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Skills: it is not only important to possess strong analytical and interviewing skills, but a consultant must also have strong negotiating and conflict resolution skills, which will be needed at many points during relationships with clients” (Morin, 2020, p. 53). The MTA has a reputation for being a difficult place for leaders to operate. The consultant will need to navigate the occasional conflict between leaders and possibly agencies.
  • “Learnability: This is defined as “the desire and the ability to quickly grow and adapt one skill set, in order to stay relevant and succeed. In order to be as effective as possible, the consultant seeks out references on organizational development and appreciative inquiry, both areas with which she or he has less familiarity” (Morin, 2020, p. 52). The consultant will perform fact-finding missions across the MTA to gather information while working to build the framework of the leadership development program.


This discovery exercise sets the tone for what will be an amazing leadership development project between our consultant and the leadership at the MTA. Throughout this discovery assessment, we have covered two different discovery approaches as well as created relevant discovery questions that will challenge the client in the right manner. Lastly, we have discussed consultant competencies that hold the consultant to a high standard of operation. The hope here is the fledging relationship between the consultant and the client will have rich origins through this discovery process and into the next phase.


Block, P., (2011). Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used. Center for Creative Leadership.

Bryant, J., Bolt, R., Botfield, J. R., Martin, K., Doyle, M., Murphy, D.,

Graham, S., Newman, C. E., Bell, S., Treloar, C., Browne, A. J., & Aggleton, P. (2021). Beyond deficit: “strengths‐based approaches” in Indigenous health research. Sociology of Health & Illness, 43(6), 1405–1421.

Brunetto, Y., Dick, T., Xerri, M., & Cully, A. (2020). Building capacity in the healthcare sector: A strengths-based approach for increasing employees’ well-being and organisational resilience. Journal of Management and Organization, 26(3), 309-323.

Heracleous, L., (2022). Helping at NASA: Guidelines for using process consultation to develop impactful research. Information and Organization. 32(1), 1-14.

Kwon, K., Lee, J. Y., Park, J. G., & Zaballero, A. G. (2020). Process Consultation Within and Across Cultures. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 56(3), 322–346.

PSY FPX 6730 Assessment 3 Consultation Discovery Process

Morin, K., (2020). Is consulting in your future. The American Journal of Nursing. 120(4), 51-57. doi:10.1097/01.MAJ.0000660048.85997.E0

Schein, E. H. (1990). A General Philosophy of Helping: Process Consultation. Sloan Management Review, 31(3), 57.

Spaide, R., Fleischer, A., & Humphrey, C. (2020). Exploring Therapist Engagement Using Process Consultation…2020 AOTA Annual Conference & Expo. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74, 1.

Stoerkel, E. (2019). What is a strength-based approach? Positive Psychology