Who do we choose to be? A workshop on leadership with the inspiring Meg Wheatley

August 16, 2019 § Leave a comment

With my colleague Penny Kay, we’re working with Meg to organise a workshop with her in Edinburgh, on 3 October 2019.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/who-do-we-choose-to-be-a-day-on-leadership-with-meg-wheatley-tickets-63985479291

If you’ve not come across Meg Wheatley yet, here’s a comment from someone who attended a similar day with her in London a year or two ago: “To be up close and personal with someone whose books has had such an impact and influence on me over the years was pretty awesome.”

Meg has written many books on leadership, in particular the seminal “Leadership and the New Science”, and most recently “Who Do We Choose To Be?”.

A quote from her sums up her philosophy on leadership: “We need leaders who recognize the harm being done to people and planet through the dominant practices that control, ignore, abuse, and oppress the human spirit. We need leaders who put service over self, stand steadfast in crises and failures, and who display unshakable faith that people can be generous, creative, and kind.”

Meg was was until recently on the advisory board for Utah’s national parks, but she and other members resigned over Trump’s impact / roll-backs and destruction of key policies that the Board helped implement, especially those affecting climate change, science and funding   https://margaretwheatley.com/national-park-board-resigns/

This is a day for those who are in – or who want to step into – leadership roles (activism, community, organisations, companies, networks…) and for those who support leaders to be more effective (coaches, consultants, mentors, colleagues and collaborators…)

Bursaries are available to those at the start of their career and for whom the time and company of thoughtful folk on the realities of leadership in these times would be beneficial. Please recommend to anyone you know who fits this description!

NB We’re charging in order to cover the costs of the workshop, but it’s a non-profit event so far as we the organisers are concerned.

A similar event in London with Meg in 2017 led to 30 thoughtful people in a room inspiring and supporting each other in their work and activism – some of their feedback comments are here:

The serendipity of being in a gathering of like-minded people exploring “sane leadership [as] the unshakeable faith in people’s capacity to be generous, creative and kind”

As a disillusioned HR Manager, it was liberating to ‘discover’ that there was another, non-mechanistic, non-positivist, way of looking at organising and leadership. I will always be grateful for this gift! 

I enjoyed it a great deal and it has provoked much thought and discussion already.

A really good event. It was an excellent refresh and time spent with very interesting people.

An excellent day. Very well organised and so thought provoking 

I got a great deal out of the day – Meg’s intriguing insights and leadings, fresh ideas from discussions with people working in different fields, and some useful material to further my own thinking about my context

The event itself has really stimulated my thinking on leadership on a profound level.

The Journey Begins

June 6, 2019 § Leave a comment

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Supervision Skills training course

January 12, 2019 § Leave a comment

Update: Please contact me ASAP to book a place on this course – 07986 016804, or john@johngray.org.uk.

Supervision Skills training course for supervising mediators, London, 12 and 13 February 2019. College of Mediators approved: 12 CPD points.

For practitioners across the mediation sector, including family, neighbour and community facilitation, inter-generational, restorative justice, schools and workplace mediation.

Feedback from my previous Supervision Skills courses:

  • “I really enjoyed the content, delivery and encouragement. I feel positive about becoming a supervisor.”
  • “I was particularly impressed with the sensitivity and knowledge that John brought to his role as facilitator and the way he supported each participant to find their own voice.”
  • “I felt comfortable to share my views with the rest of the group which I don’t normally feel able to do; so I was definitely more vocal and this was down to John’s training style and relaxed atmosphere. Brilliant!”

£235 per person (no VAT payable); discount of 10% for second and further bookings from the same organisation.

I am a supervisor and executive coach and former manager a community mediation service with experience of managing both staff and volunteer mediators. This popular course is running again as an open programme for the first time since 2016.

Venue: The Lift, White Lion Street, London, N1 9PW – a few minutes’ walk from Angel tube station    http://www.liftislington.org.uk/find-us

Announcing the next Supervision Skills training course for supervisors of mediators, 12 and 13 February 2019, London

September 30, 2018 § Leave a comment

Download full details via this link.

Suitable for staff and Board members, and volunteer mediators taking on an additional role within your service; for existing freelance supervisors; and for freelance mediators looking to add a new skill to your portfolio.

* Boost your supervision capacity amongst existing staff and resources

* Take home tools and approaches to improve service provision

* Understand the role of supervision in developing and retaining staff

For practitioners across the mediation sector, including family, neighbour and community facilitation, inter-generational, restorative justice, schools and workplace mediation

London, Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 February 2019, 9.30 for 9.45am to 4.45pm

John Gray, Autumn 2017 600 pixels

College of Mediators approved: 12 CPD points

Feedback from previous courses:

  • “I felt comfortable to share my views with the rest of the group which I don’t normally feel able to do; so I was definitely more vocal and this was down to John’s training style and relaxed atmosphere. Brilliant!”
  • “I was particularly impressed with the sensitivity and knowledge that John brought to his role as facilitator and the way he supported each participant to find their own voice.”
  • “I really enjoyed the content, delivery and encouragement. I feel positive about becoming a supervisor.”

The rich lawyer

June 6, 2018 § Leave a comment

I am pleased to offer a link to my appearance in “The Rich Lawyer” (not wealthy rich!, but lawyers who are “principled, passionate, and fulfilled”).

The Q&A interview touches on my journey into and out of being a lawyer, and where my work is taking me now.

Plus my best anti-lawyer joke – apologies in advance.

https://www.therichlawyer.life/rich-lawyer-interviews-john-gray/

Coaching technical experts who also manage a business

June 5, 2018 § Leave a comment

Desk workI’ve coached a number of people over the years who have both been expert practitioners in their field (entrepreneurs, artists, technical specialists…), and who have also been responsible for the running of their business (directors, partners or equivalents).

Whilst their coaching has at times focussed on the development of their craft or expertise, most often the work has come under the heading of being an effective contributor to running the business. How to be a shaper and leader of strategy, for example, or how to manage relationships with colleagues, or how to take charge of their own future within the enterprise.

The refining of their technical expertise, their craft, whatever made them create or join the business in the first place, has often happened intuitively, outside the coaching and instead through their daily practice, almost without them noticing. And there’s no surprise here, as of course this craft is what lights their fire! It’s where they have chosen to put their heart and soul, and where they find meaning in work. So they already have effective strategies for developing this part of themselves; and these strategies are the reason they became experts.

But few go into business solely in order to go into business. Few gladly choose the path of people management. Few have set themselves the primary lifetime goal of effective delegation or increased productivity, or minimising the effects of stress.

So these latter topics are the ones which sometimes turn up in coaching, because for these experts they are not the arena of intuitive skills. They instead can be experienced for some people as arenas of uncertainty, of no right answers, or of inexperience, where a false step might lead to further complications.

In short, they are arenas where conscious attention has to be paid to ensure the experiences are unpacked and the learning converted into more effective future action. And that is why there are so relevant agenda items for coaching, in support of the growth of the whole person as an effective practitioner.

 

This is a copy of an article which also appears within my LinkedIn pages.

Coaching the living: lessons from sitting with the dying

April 17, 2018 § Leave a comment

I should straightaway say that I’ve never sat with someone who is dying.

But a few pages in a book which touched on the author’s experience of sitting with those who are dying, have led me to insights and confirmations about the role of coaching (Parker J. Palmers “A Hidden Wholeness”, 2004).

“We must abandon the arrogance that often distorts our relationships – the arrogance of believing that we have the answer to the other person’s problem … What is before us is not “a problem to be solved”, but a mystery to be honoured.” page 61.

In the phraseology of the Coactive model of coaching, the people we work with are naturally creative, resourceful and whole; not someone who needs fixing.

I’m learning that people who have sat with a dying person find that they are not just taking up space in the room. They may find words inadequate to describe their experience, but are often their description is some version of “I was simply being present”.

Butterflies Two pixabay

When I consider I’m being at my best in a coaching session, I notice afterwards that I too was often “just” being present: practising being present, sitting with a living belief in the value of the other person, and their capacity to pick their path (their path) through their truths and limiting beliefs. My contribution was the quality of my attentiveness, my listening to them and to myself, and my hopeful and supportive expectation of the best in them.

In his book, Parker J. Palmer quotes an incident in Nikos Kazantakis’ Zorba the Greek, in which the narrator is overly-impatient in watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon. The narrator breathes on the cocoon to warm it, which at first encourages the butterfly to emerge. But it emerges too early, and its wings, which should have opened and dried naturally in the heat of the sun, are folded back and useless. He watches its struggles, as it is artificially and prematurely brought to a new place, before its time.

The metaphor for coaching is clear: we are not there to point out what for us are obvious solutions to the other person’s problem. For example, “Have you spoken to the other person about this?” may seem like an obvious and sensible suggestion. But the coachee might not be ready to take this step, or may not have the skills or awareness to ensure a good conversation. They’ve probably already considered and rejected this course of action. But their coach ’told’ them to, and imperfect skills or an imperfect inner commitment to the task may result in an unfortunate outcome.

Rarely does offering advice or a suggestion in coaching bring such dramatic consequences as for that emerging butterfly! But the story confirms for me that though I might offer models or abstract theories, or a reflecting challenge to help the person really understand themselves better, essentially my work is nondirective.

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of “the love that consists in this, that two solitudes protect, border and salute each other.” A definition of the coach’s role, perhaps?