Patients complain that doctors and nurses do not listen, and therefore a need to develop the patient encounter is at hand. Phenomenological theory has opened new ways to develop professional competence. If the idea holds that we express our understanding about our work through our actions, a change in understanding might further develop professional competence. This idea offers a new way to develop competence in diabetes health care service. The aim of this study was to map health care professionals' understanding of the patient encounter before and after an educational intervention that focused the way the health care professional experienced the encounter, and to describe how their understanding changed. Two general practitioners and two diabetes nurses participated. They were interviewed before and after the intervention. The intervention comprised 4-5 sessions during which they together with a tutor reviewed their videotaped consultations with different persons with diabetes. The tutors' role was to make interventions that could alter the persons understanding of the diabetes consultation through questioning. The interviews were analysed using phenomenographic method. The results show that the professionals changed their ways of experiencing the encounter after the intervention. They started to question their way of working, focused the patient's learning process and became interested in how to stimulate it.