Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

Handing over

Posts Tagged ‘Respecting’

Handing over

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I was inspired by the British relay teams in the European Championships last month. Their performance was fabulous, of course, but even more stirring was their camaraderie, cohesion, and sense of supporting each other in a shared endeavour. Their success sharply contrasts to the woes of a few years ago, when British teams seemed unable to get the baton to the finish line.

Back then, I was immersed in a ‘learning review’ of a project in serious difficulties. (more…)

Being faithless

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One of the quotations on my office wall is from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poem The Invitation. The particular verse that serves as inspiration and support centres on our capacity to be true to self, and so risk disappointing another. It says:

‘I want to know… if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.’

Our choices about how to invest our energy depend on who we are, what matters to us, and who matters to us. (more…)

Passing places

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The single track roads of the north of Scotland offer a fine ‘simulator’ for paying attention to, and reflecting on, our patterns of thinking and behaviour when we come face-to-face with someone with a conflicting plan. If I’m driving from Broadford to Elgol and meet someone travelling in the opposite direction, how do we navigate a space that’s only wide enough for one of us? (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…)

Sweet spot for support

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As a coach and coach supervisor I’m currently reflecting on how I offer ‘support’. Balancing challenge and support is a pivotal tenet of my practice, and is fundamental to many professionals involved in personal development. By nature I’m more disposed to challenge – it comes relatively easily, and feels ‘innate’ in some way. Support feels more ‘learned’, a little less adept and agile. When I offer support I need to pay conscious attention, and be mindful of my intent and the impact of my words and actions.

What do I mean by support? (more…)

Voice recognition

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Writing about ‘authentic voice’ for my April post prompted me to deepen my inquiry into the other dialogue practices outlined by Garrett, Isaacs and others*: respecting, suspending judgment, and listening. Together, the four practices establish core conditions for ‘roomier’ and more generative conversations.

This month, I am focusing on the practice of respecting, which is especially important when we are faced with difference. In Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together, William Isaacs describes dialogue as:

‘taking the energy of our differences and channelling it toward something that has never been created before’ (more…)