Reading Notes - The Mystery of Counseling

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If I read this book a year or two ago, I may not recommend it as I do today, because this book talks about a lot of strange tricks, and even a lot of content that you are likely to disdain, but when I went to do management and technical consulting for several companies, I encountered a lot of difficulties that made me feel at a loss, and many problems that I thought I could easily solve in the company began to be difficult, so here I very much recommend this book to everyone.

But there are some terms in this book that I don’t particularly agree with, and even I think some of them are contradictory, which needs to be further understood in practice.

Finally, many people think that consulting is a very easy and profitable business, maybe I am not good enough, but from my personal experience, when I do consulting, all I think about is when the fuck will this transaction end, or whether it is better to work part-time.

General principles:

  1. The user will not admit that he has a problem, the consultation should admit that the user is capable, and then go to improve the problem in small steps. The first rate of consultation is the 10% commitment law, and promising too much will embarrass users. If it really changes by more than 10%, it is necessary to make sure that the customer does not notice him, and the best way to ensure that no one notices is to attribute these credits to the customer, and do not greed for the credit yourself.
  2. When users want to seek advice, it is often not the wrong way to do things, but that the thing is not right at all. In addition, management will not admit that it is a human problem and will often boil these down to technical problems, but don’t debunk these things.
  3. Be sure to have customers pay by the hour, not for the solution. Because if the user knows exactly that he wants a solution, or if you propose a solution, it means telling the customer that something is wrong. Don’t expect the client to admit that a clear solution works, because that means getting the client to admit that there was something wrong with what he did before, so be sure not to ask for credit for consulting.
  4. If the client doesn’t hire you, don’t help them solve the problem. This won’t help your bank account, and it won’t work out either.
  5. For a business, the wider the spread, the thinner the spread. Most people can only choose one.
  6. Don’t think that you can solve the customer’s problem all the time, so don’t pay by the solution, because solving the first problem, the second problem automatically becomes the first problem, so this solution never ends.

About solving the problem:

  1. Most problems will get better on their own, so be gentle with systems that heal themselves, and don’t fix systems that are not broken. Because he will always be good on his own.
  2. Repeatedly treating a system that heals itself will result in him not healing itself. So don’t try to solve the same problem for customers over and over again.
  3. To give advice, it is also necessary to follow up on the methods they have implemented, which means to give users a medicine and watch them eat it as required.
  4. If what they’ve already done doesn’t solve the problem, let them do something else.
  5. Make sure they pay you enough money (the right money) so they will listen to you.
  6. Don’t give up treatment too early, and don’t stick with one therapy for too long.
  7. If you can’t let the customer change the shortcomings, then think about how to make the shortcomings become characteristics, and then carry forward the characteristics.
  8. As a consultant, it is important to solve problems in a reasonable way, not to explain problems in a so-called rational way. Because the rational way has been tried by others. So it’s important to try those unconventional methods.
  9. Ordinary people blurt out when they have a problem: Okay, I’ll do it right away. When a consultant encounters a problem, the first thing he should say is, what are you willing to sacrifice? To be a consultant you must understand the art of compromise, and to improve one is to sacrifice the other.
  10. Orange juice test: “We can do it, but it’s the cost required”. Whenever a customer needs service, ask them what they want to get, tell them how much they need, and then evaluate whether their prices match.

Communication skills:

  1. As a consultant to an established company, it is important to understand the history so that you can see how it has evolved step by step to where it is today. Because there were probably good and good reasons for making decisions that seem stupid today. But don’t criticize the problem, because the person causing the problem is now your customer, or simply your boss.

  2. But remember not to ask in too much detail, you need to sort out your thoughts and find problems from the details, you are a consultant not a lawyer.

  3. Study history not to criticize, but to find good points to praise.

  4. Never worry about how to collect questions, “why” is a very effective way to collect questions. But often the customer knows how to solve his problem and will tell it in the first five minutes, so that he can avoid getting bogged down in infinite details.

About pricing:

  1. The money paid to you is directly proportional to the respect given to you, and price is a very important screener.
  2. Money is generally only a small fraction of the price, and you have to find a way to get customers to pay for something that is valuable to them.
  3. Pricing is not a zero-sum game, and there are some things that are important to you that are not important to them.
  4. If you need this money to take this job, then don’t take this business.
  5. If they’re not happy with your work, don’t take their money. In general, it is possible to take the customer to be satisfied with you before paying.
  6. The price setting actually means that the negotiation is complete.
  7. Set a price that you won’t regret whether you negotiate the deal or not.

Work status of consultants:

  1. There are only two states for consultants, particularly busy and particularly idle.
  2. There are too many consultants, and the sign that others identify a good consultant is whether he is working as a consultant.
  3. Spend at least one day a week exposing yourself. There are several channels for exposure, first of all, advertising exposure is unlikely to pay for itself. The only necessary advertisement is business cards, which are distributed on any occasion where they can be exposed for free. Many consultants will find that fucking campaigns become a major source of income.
  4. Customers are always more important to you than you are to them. So no matter how solid your business is, keep it exposed. Because you can be fired at any time.
  5. Never let one customer account for more than a quarter of your total business.
  6. Even the most critical customer, learn to refuse the customer, for example, he makes you work longer, because once you are afraid to say no to the customer, your credit will be lost, and eventually the customer will be lost.
  7. The best marketing tool is the satisfied customer. For consultants, the biggest reward comes from constantly new ideas and ideas. So give the best ideas to the client and encourage the client to take over the work I’ve been doing. But don’t give it all to the customer, keep it for yourself.
  8. Set aside a quarter of the time to do nothing to:
    1. There is an opportunity to catch him when new business arises
    2. Quick response to urgent matters
    3. Give some leeway to your schedule
    4. Rest charging
    5. Also practicing not to give too much to customers and learn to be reserved
  9. Market for quality, not quantity.

How to earn trust:

  1. There is often no essential difference between consultants and consultants, so this involves how to win trust and differentiate competition.
  2. No one cares about why you failed but yourself, so don’t explain.
  3. Don’t be dishonest even if the customer asks for it.
  4. Never make any promises.

Some empirical words:

People often hire consultants not to change anything, but not to change. So sometimes it’s about finding out how changes come about and how you can stop them.

If a small system tries to change a large system through long-term and continuous contact, it is more likely to end up changing on its own.

No change + no change + no change +… = huge change, so often big and lasting change comes from trying to keep the biggest thing that you least want to change.

It’s not just about being a consultant, it’s about making others believe in you, whether as an employee or a consultant, and you’re taking responsibility for your own results at your own expense.

Effective problem solvers may have many problems, but not one particularly significant problem. Because the worst problems will basically account for 80% of the total, the remaining 20% of problems are basically evenly distributed — averaging principle. So if the customer has a prominent problem, then it is divided into two cases:

  1. This is a long-term problem, so either the user is inefficient in solving the problem, or there is no prioritization. In general, consultants are unlikely to find a piece of soil for their ideas to be implemented perfectly, so they should do simple problems that can make big problems smaller, and win trust in the process to make them smaller. But this is actually teaching fish rather than teaching them to fish, so a better way is to put the problem aside and start with another small problem to teach the user how to solve the problem and establish a mechanism.
  2. This is a short-term problem, so it is better to study the problem solving using the mechanism of solving the problem forever.

It’s also important to note that if the user doesn’t invite you to solve the problem, don’t talk, because you can never help at this time. Experienced consultants will know that the biggest agenda is for users to ask for help

Reading Notes - The Mystery of Counseling
Posted on
August 13, 2021
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