Consulting Relationship Stages

It's important to recognize that trust and rapport in a consulting relationship, like any other type of relations, takes time to develop. Consider that most relationships develop in the following way.

Best Behavior

Both parties try to show only their good sides and good intentions as they try to form the initial relationship. While expectations are shared, they tend to focus on best-case scenarios and everything working out perfectly.

First Bump in the Road

Inevitably, one party or the other will violate these initial expectations. It's impossible for everything to be perfect in every situation, all the time. Sometimes the relationship ends at this point, but more often, things are smoothed over.

Waiting Underground

The problem with smoothing things over time after time leads to one or both parties storing up mistrust and resentment. This can lead to various forms of behavior that are confusing because they are not directly related to the source of tension.

Productive Problem Solving

At this point, both parties sit down, re-examine expectations, and really try to resolve their issues. If fact, they establish processes for resolving conflicts they can expect down the road.

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