Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

Consider this…

Posts Tagged ‘Mindfulness’

Consider this…

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Pause for Breath is five years old today! On Monday 4 July 2011, somewhat reluctantly, I held a launch party for this written manifestation of my dialogue-related work. I still find it hard to be visible in this way – to actively celebrate something I’ve produced. Yet I believe in the power of the practices in the book. I also believe that they, alongside similar approaches, are more necessary than ever before. (more…)

Bare listening

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I’ve been thinking (yet again) about listening, catalysed by two experiences:

resisting the four levels of listening of Otto Scharmer’s Theory U; and

● being drawn towards the premise of listening to connect, proposed in Judith Glaser’s Conversational Intelligence.

As I pondered the roots of my aversion to one idea, and my attraction to the other, I changed my mind about both. (more…)

The vision thing

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In coaching supervision, a client was lamenting her lack of ‘a vision’ for her business. Two things flitted briefly through my mind:

• I’m not sure you’re strongly visual in your preferences; and
• who says we need a vision?

I let these thoughts slide by, as my client’s narrative unfolded along different lines. (more…)

Sounds of silence

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Since my return from a silent retreat, I find myself talking a lot about not talking. The irony doesn’t escape me. While words can’t fully express the experience and impact of silence, I continue to explore how I might articulate its merit in embodying dialogue practices.

I’ve written about silence before – in my book, Pause for Breath, and in an article for Coaching at Work, about a visit to Bhutan. In the latter, I described silence as part of the landscape – a textural backdrop into which sounds seemed to fall and dissolve. (more…)

Rhythms of rest

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In Scotland, February can seem to be the grimmest month – the short, cold days are similar to those in December and January, but are unmitigated by preparations for festivities, or the optimism of new beginnings. In previous years, I’ve been heard to say that the only advantage of February is that it is short! This year, though, in my wee spot, the weather has been mostly settled – cold, yet bright, and still, yet with a quality of anticipation that is almost Spring-like.

It’s a different rhythm – a contrast to the most obvious ‘story’ of February. (more…)

System upgrades

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I began this year in retreat, solitary and silent. It was a period of much needed self-examination and reflection following an autumn in which I’d become increasingly ragged. My ability to be present was reduced, impacting the quality of my work. I was crabby and short-tempered with those I love. I was ‘out of sorts’, with a sense of having lost contact with my essential nature, the inner architecture that guides me, and supports my best work.

The erosion of my capacity was attributable to a gradual accumulation of causes, some clearly self-inflicted. (more…)

Weebles wobble…

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…but they don’t fall down.

Do you remember this jingle for a toy? With a heavy rounded base, a weeble rights itself when pushed over. I use this image to emphasise that the key to Leadership Embodiment practice is recovering centre when we’re buffeted by life. (more…)

Energetic cheques

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In the movie ‘Top Gun’, Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick, is berated by his superior with the words:

‘your ego is writing cheques your body can’t cash’

Whilst the language is somewhat more pointed than I generally use (these days, at least), this succinctly conveys a perennial difficulty in the way many of us navigate the world. What I can imagine immediately, greatly outstrips what I can quickly achieve. (more…)

Staying in conversations

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When did you last exit a conversation without raising something important, something you’d planned to say? What happened that left you unable to express yourself in the way you’d intended?

As an executive coach, I use Leadership Embodiment practices to look at this kind of scenario with my clients. The approach encourages us to study ourselves in our interactions with others and the world, and to identify how we react in pressured or stressful situations. It also offers an ‘antidote’, a centring practice through which we can recover our poise and effectiveness. (more…)

In another light

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As I begin to write this article, I’m in the Orkney Islands, which Andrew Greig, in his novel ‘In Another Light’, describes evocatively as ‘land like an old green tarpaulin dragged out of the North Sea, glinting pools of water in its folds’. My first impressions are of another place, qualitatively different in energy to any other part of the British Isles.

With other island communities, Orkney is keen to shape their own future. They’re in a conversation with the Scottish Government similar to that between Holyrood and Westminster about Scotland. More widely there are conversations about the UK’s relationship with the EU, and the options for an independent Scotland in Europe. I have a sense of asymmetry in these conversations (more…)