Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

Bare listening

Posts Tagged ‘Suspending judgement’

Bare listening

Posted on:

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…)

Dressing down

Posted on:

A recent swathe of adverse comments reminded me of an incident from my first job, in a merchant bank. After some initial training, I was placed in the treasury function. I speculate that this decision was based on my maths degree rather than personal aptitude! The dealing room was an alien world. Thankfully, some kindly-disposed ‘old hands’ helped me learn the ropes. (more…)

Handing over

Posted on:

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…)

Passing places

Posted on:

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

Posted on:

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…)

Raising questions

Posted on:

In my previous article I wrote about offering support, and touched on a central tenet of my practice as a coach and coach supervisor: balancing challenge and support. This month, I continue this theme, focusing on the impact of challenging colleagues or clients.

What do I mean by challenge? (more…)

Beyond belief

Posted on:

My two previous posts focused on practices that support skilful advocacy and articulating a point of view, in a way that acknowledges that others may see things differently. In dialogue, advocacy is balanced by inquiry, which invites more participation, awareness and potential in a conversation. This month, I am focusing on one of two practices that support skilful inquiry, namely suspending judgement. Reflecting on the impact of making judgements on our leadership conversations offers a starting place to understand the importance of this practice. (more…)