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How do you manage your client relationships?

In 2016 Benchmark Performance led a team to update the Competencies for Performance and Learning Professionals for the I4PL and introduced a new competency: Partnering with Clients.


In May, Benchmarker and Waterloo & Wellington I4PL Chapter Executive Hannah Brown designed and facilitated a one-day workshop on how to do this. Hosted by the local chapter, this interactive session was attended by 21 I4PL participants from Waterloo & Wellington, Stratford, London, and the GTA.


Using self-assessment, small group activities, vignettes, discussion, and practice, participants built competency-related skills including conflict management and asking for and receiving feedback. Much of the workshop focused on what to do when things go sideways giving participants a chance to explore real business challenges.


Groups kicked off the day discussing how they respond to challenges in a way that maintains the client relationship. But, as is often the case, discussing what do to is different than actually doing it. So, in the next activity, I4PL members role-played having a difficult client conversation. Thank you to Tim Ashworth for creating the client version of the case study!

Hannah’s session concluded with a ‘choose your own’ activity where participants identified a skill they wanted to focus on such as:


  • Project management

  • Negotiation

  • Creative thinking and problem solving

  • Asking probing questions

  • Having difficult conversations


Small groups created a scenario and exchanged ideas to handle the situation using their chosen skill and in a way that supports the client relationship.


The workshop offered participants a fun and practical way to learn, as well as introduced skills and tools they could use on the job. Here’s what they said about it:


“Great tools – books, handouts, tools, role-plays.”


“Loved the hands-on approach to personally exploring the competency.”


“My partner for when things go sideways [activity] gave me some invaluable feedback!”


“Loved the breakouts, opportunity to share, very interactive.”


“Conflict Management and when things go sideways helped me in my role as a client manager.”


“Each of these components were tremendously helpful to me to take back to my own role. It greatly helped me understand where I fit in my organization and clarify my leader’s role. It also provided me valuable tips in negotiating my job with my peers and handling unique challenges.”


#I4PL #WWA

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