People use the phrase “overcoming resistance” as though resistance or defensiveness were an adversary to be wrestled to the ground and subdued. “Overcoming resistance” would have you get clever and logical to win the point and convince the client. But there is no way you can talk clients out of their resistance because resistance is an emotional process. Behind the resistance are certain feelings, and you cannot talk people out of how they are feeling.

There are specific steps a consultant can take to help a client get past the resistance and get on with solving the problem. The basic strategy is to help the resistance blow itself out, like a storm, and not to fight it head-on. Feelings pass and change when ...

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