Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

Working together

On this page I set out some of the qualities, principles and values that are important to me in my life and work. I do my best to be true to these…and, like you, I am human!

Breathing spaces

Whether working one-to-one or in a small group of co-learners, together we create a ‘breathing space’ in which you can expand your awareness and get in touch with your deeper wisdom, inspiring fresh insight into your practice as a leader or coach.

In all my work, I encourage (and seek to model) a climate of respectful presence, in which it is possible to speak of the things we think and feel but usually don’t say out loud. My aim is to host a conversation in which you:

● have the time and space to expand your awareness, perhaps accessing valuable qualities and attributes that have fallen into disuse;
● become curious about repeating patterns of conversation and action, and wonder how you contribute to them; and
● cultivate greater resilience in your leadership presence when ‘under fire’, and increase your versatility in responding to challenging events.

Fundamentally, I keep faith with you, and support you to keep faith with yourself.

Practices not knowledge!

I am committed to creating the conditions for compelling learning experiences, and to supporting you to change your practice, whether as a leader or a coach.

Together we work in areas where ‘getting it’ intellectually is not enough. Many frameworks are ‘easy’ to understand, but hard to put into practice skilfully and consistently. Knowledge is not sufficient: practice is needed to develop confidence and ‘agility’.

Working this way can be challenging for leaders used to being quickly adept. Striving for immediate ‘perfection’ can, paradoxically, diminish our skilfulness by adding anxiety or bravado to an already tense situation. Why do we put this kind of pressure on ourselves? If we took up a musical instrument, we wouldn’t expect to play a concerto straight away.

In creating a space where ‘practice’ is the norm, we learn to expect that we’ll try something out and reflect on the impact of it. We cultivate inquiring curiosity about how we perceive things, and explore alternative interpretations of situations we encounter. As we work together, I’ll support you to generate options for skilful responses, some of which may be unfamiliar and feel uncomfortable at first. You choose an approach and commit to testing it – if it has potential, you commit to practising and refining it.

Authenticity and integrity

Authenticity and integrity are two values that I aspire to embody in my life and work. By authenticity I mean being true to myself and to you, and by integrity I mean seeking to be aligned and congruent. I am fully committed to walking my own talk.

In embodying authenticity, I aspire to be open about my own continuing learning as I gradually become more consistent in embodying my values and principles. However, like all human beings I’m a work-in-progress and don’t always live up to my own ‘press’. In embodying integrity, I’ll acknowledge when I fall short of my aspirations, as long as I notice (which is the difficult part!). If you experience incongruence between my words and my practice, please bring it to my attention so I can put it right.

My sense is that authenticity and integrity together enable an ‘independence of spirit’ and I endeavour to bring this quality to all my work. With it, I seek to offer perspective, clarity and compassionate challenge in all that I do.

Working inside organisations

I am fortunate to know, work alongside, and learn with, many skilful practitioners. When working within an organisation or system, it is important for coaches, supervisors and facilitators to maintain the highest possible standards of independence and perspective. The gravitational pull of an organisational system and culture can bring distortions to anyone’s integrity and authenticity. When I work in organisations, I therefore work in partnership with another practitioner, so that we can help each other to be in the best service of the system.

Confidentiality and supervision

In addition to maintaining confidentiality in my coaching and supervision dialogues, it is my practice to keep the names of my clients confidential, as far as is possible. One way I maintain the quality and integrity of my work is to have supervision, in which I examine my practice. In supervision the focus is on my contribution to our work, and my supervision arrangement also maintains the highest standards of confidentiality.