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Running head: UNDERSTANDING RESISTANCE

Understanding Resistance
Angelina Pechota
Siena Heights University

UNDERSTANDING RESISTANCE

As a consultant understanding resistance can be, at times, a difficult task to master. The
better we cope with it the more successful we will be overall. As Block says in the reading, this
is one of the hardest parts no matter how reasonable we as the consultant feel we have presented
our data. The ability to understand resistance is one that all of us as consultants must learn to
cope with and deal with in our work environments. In the business world you must learn to not
take things personal, it is just business. When you face resistance, we must keep in mind that our
clients are being put in a position that may not be familiar with and are uncomfortable with. In
Blocks book, the chapter titled Understanding Resistance it reads, Resistance then is not only
predictable and natural; it is a necessary part of the learning process (Block, 2011 P. 129). As a
consultant, we must always be learning and growing in a manner that makes us stronger in our
methods as consultants. One key ability with dealing with resistance is being able to identify
when it is taking place.
Resistance can take on many different forms, from not enough time or even plain silence.
It is important for us to understand the forms so we are able to work through them in the
appropriate manner and overcome them as consultants. The fourteen forms of resistance are:
1. Give Me More Detail No matter how much information you give the client,
it is never enough.
2. Flooding You with Detail The client gives you more and more detail, most
of which is irrelevant and that you understand less and less.
3. Time Something always seems to come up and the project is continualy put
off.
4. Impracticality Accusing consultants of being impractical and academic, even
idealistic.
5. Im Not Surprised The manager has a fear of surprise and uses this form as a
way of being in control.
6. Attack This is the most blatant form and involves angry words, finger
pointing in your face, fist pounding on the desk and punctuating the end of
every sentence.
7. Confusion The need to explain things two or three times, which could mean
the client could just have a problem saying no.

UNDERSTANDING RESISTANCE

8. Silence The toughest form a client can portray and can mean the action is
being blocked.
9. Intellectualizing Exploring theory after theory, shifting the discussions.
10. Moralizing This form can be seductive to consultants but it is not what you
want to fall in to.
11. Compliance The most difficult form to see because we are getting total buy
in from the client.
12. Methodology This is where the client loses sight of the purpose of the
meeting by excessive grilling about your methods.
13. Flight into Health Problems magically seem to go away when the time
comes for addressing them.
14. Pressing for Solutions This is the clients urge for solutions without learning
anything important about the nature of the problem.
So what are clients resisting? It is not you. It is the unwanted reality that they are going to
have to make difficult choices, take on unpopular actions and confront realities. All in which
can be quite trying for any type of manager to deal with. Handling these tough situations in the
appropriate manner is what make reputable managers. Most resistant managers know that when
they go to do any of the above they will be facing some of the same reactions themselves.
This is what resistance is about: defending against some difficult reality and how the
manager has been handling it. We consultants come in and, as part of our job, start
pointing to the difficult realities. It is important that we help the client face the
difficulties. We shouldnt avoid them just because the client will become resistant
(Block, 2011, p. 140).
When trying to understand resistance we need to remember the following statement made by
Block: There is no way you can talk clients out of resistance, because it is an emotional
process. Behind resistance are certain feelings and you cannot talk people out of how they are
feeling (Block 2011 pg. 149). When your people feel they have a voice and are given the ability
to be a part of something they feel valued and tend to have less resistance to consultants.

UNDERSTANDING RESISTANCE

Understanding a clients resistance will only help you, as a consultant, be more effective and
overcome that resistance in the appropriate manner.

References

UNDERSTANDING RESISTANCE

Block, P. (2011). Flawless consulting. A guide to getting your expertise used. (Third ed.). San
Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Evans, Hearn, Uhlemann, & Ivey (2008,) Essential Interviewing: A programmed
approach to effective communication (8th ed.) Belmont, CA, Cengage Learning.
Ross, G. J. (1993). Peter Block's flawless consulting and the homunculus theory: Within each
person is a perfect consultant. Journal of Counseling & Development