RE: Working with Process Consultants
From: Eileen McCourt (
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 13:23:01 -0700 (MST)
Finding consultants and developing process skills:

We asked The Cohousing Network for recommendations.

We worked with a team from The Foundation for Community Encouragement
before they dissolved, on a recommendation from Chris ScottHanson, who
was our project manager.  FIC came and we had a weekend workshop on
decision making models leading to consensus.  That was the first
professionally facilitated retreat in October of 2000.

We asked Abraham and Associates and Zev Paiss to help us, since Neshama
was already working for us as our marketing consultant, again on Chris'
recommendation.  Zev came and worked with us on building community.

We worked with Paul DeLapa on creating our vision statement and values
clarification.  Paul was recommended to us by Zev.

Laird Schaub, from the Fellowship for Intentional Community, whom I and
other OCC members met at the last TCN conference, came and worked with
us on consensus at a weekend workshop.

We asked Shari Leach at Wonderland Hill Development to help us.

A group of member facilitators was formed, and they self-trained using
the book and lesson plans in the books The Zen of Groups and The Art of
Facilitation, by Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, and Bill Taylor.

We engaged Rob Sandelin, whom we found on cohousing-l, recommended by
his thoughtful posts, to come and do a weekend workshop on facilitation
(when he was still consulting).  We thought facilitation skills would be
good for all community members, even those who did not want to be
facilitators, so they could be more supportive of the facilitator.

We paid conference fees for the last TCN conference for every OCC
member, to encourage participation, and we all made contacts with other
communities and leaders from that experience.

We budgeted for a process consultant to participate on the process
committee to keep things focused and responsive to the needs of the
group.  I think that budget was initially for about 5-10 hours a month,
but is less now that the committee is more robust. [All of our committee
work is done on a bridge teleconference line, since we are very spread
out; most people still live 200-250 miles from the area where we are
building our community.]

We have had 2 or 3 member led "retreat" weekends.  We have another
retreat coming up in February, where we will be away at some kind of
rustic camping cabin type of place, working on our Living Here Guide.  I
think this retreat is being facilitated by member facilitators. 

We have had an off-site retreat weekend about once a year.  There have
been 4 since August 2000.  We have had another 6 where we spent the
weekend at a workshop, but in separate accommodations.   We used to
descend on a small motel in town, but since 7 of our members have moved
to Paso Robles, in anticipation of the completion of Oak Creek Commons,
we have many places for everyone to stay.


Eileen McCourt
Oak Creek Commons Cohousing
Paso Robles, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]] On Behalf Of Becky Schaller
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 10:20 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_Working with Process Consultants

Eileen, how did you find consultants to work with you on your process?
thing I'd like to see our group do is to find at least one local
to work with.  But I also understand that finding people who understand
community dynamics isn't easy.   So I'm curious.   How did you find
and do you have any advise for how to look for someone?
Becky Schaller
Sonora Cohousing
Tucson, Arizona

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