By Nedra Chandler, 3-minute read
What conversations are you having today?
So many conversations miss the intended mark, don’t they? And yet so much happens through conversations if you’re present to the people you are relating with in that moment.
“Presence” & “practice”
By “present” I mean paying attention. Belonging to the conversation you’re having.
Presence takes practice, yet it can be as straightforward as noticing a few things in your immediate environment, as Ellen Langer, Harvard’s “Mother of Mindfulness,” points out in her compelling work. Search her on Google and you’ll find video clips and articles on this topic.
What we mean by practice is summed up by master coach and author Doug Silsbee below (thanks to Bebe Hansen’s post of this quote from Doug):
Coaching conversations, online/on demand content, team building and what else?
Triangle Associates and Elation Inc. teams work with leaders, groups and organizations in all kinds of settings. Those of us here who focus on organizational health work together to design a whole range of half-day to multiple-year engagements that support leadership growth and evolution.
I am a credentialed executive coach who works mostly with government leaders and teams. My practice is expanding through referral. I’ve noticed that many come to me with some version of a commitment: “I want better energy and stamina than I have now” or “I am committed to building greater trust in my team.”
Mastering your own mindset is at the heart of both those desired results of our clients. We work together while you discover for yourself how you’re going to show up and own the skills you already have in these areas, or further develop them. If that’s your commitment and you practice, it’s a given: you will manage your energy. You will build greater trust. The work unfolds in a series of conversations and structured-yet-still-organic work with key elements of grounding, awareness, choices, and practice.
Returning to the example of managing your energy, you might decide to learn and apply relevant neuroscience. Along with many other public and private clients, a National Park Service team we have worked with for over a year is now using our online content here to support them.
Daily life itself has an uncanny knack for showing us what’s needed and what’s most important. So while life continues to be a great teacher no matter what, moving through the Elation’s self-paced content on your own or in groups is one effective way to expose yourself to, for example, key content on:
- the unconscious brain
- fast and slow thinking
- cognitive bias
- social brain
- fixed & growth mindsets
- personal accountability
- quieting the mind, and
- brain-body system.
Here is a playful-yet-challenging invitation to practice something today if you’d like
- When you converse today, notice your assumptions, listen, and dial those assumptions back.
- Maybe you don’t know what someone meant? Ask.
- Use your authentic strengths and skills while you listen to connect.
- Notice that you might feel different listening to connect than when you are listening to judge.
What are you learn and apply from this experience even one time through?
I’m so curious what you think about 2 things now
What do you see are the key features that will work best for you in a package of coaching services for government leaders and teams?
And what are your thoughts about artificial intelligence-based coaching? Is there a demand for that in your world? In a recent article from the Coach Federation, Matt Barney, Ph.D wrote,
Coaching AI is poised to dramatically grow the coaching industry by disrupting money people already spend with the training industry. I suspect this is likely because most trainers know that very little of training transfers to the job, whereas our coaching approaches are always grounded in helping clients achieve their goals and adapt as the engagement proceeds. Coaching AI allows a typical coach to improve the scope of impact and grow business without hurting current non-technology enabled coaching engagements.
Please send your perspectives to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
A bit about me: I work with government clients and their partners as a professional coach and third-party facilitator in navigating conflict, change and learning opportunities of all kinds. Find me here once a month, more of my long-time work mates at Triangle Associates and my colleagues at Elation. If you see something of value here for you or someone you know, please pass it along. Thank you.
By Nedra Chandler, 5 minute read and practice
Thanks to friends and colleagues sharing heartfelt expressions, here are a few sentiments that especially stand out in the past 24 hours, some triggered by the vote in the Judiciary Committee, some just about ‘what is’:
“I am struggling under waves of lifetimes of what women navigate — the violence and the silencing.”
“Just rage. Weeping now. That’s all.”
“When do we start burning it down? Is that today?”
“The future of leadership will have more yin in it. feminine and masculine together both/and. Yin and yang.”
“I am casting a net now for all the wild beauty I can find.”
A practice for coaching yourself
If you are feeling triggered or transported to personal or collective trauma, here is your invitation to use this practice called above and below the line as much as you have an appetite for right now. I got it from the author Jim Dethmer who adapted work of Michael Bernard Beckwith. Please share the work as far and wide in the service of conscious leadership.
You know I’ve been geeking out practicing the ins and outs of conflict prevention and coaching moves since 1990. I’m telling you “4 ways of leading in the world” is gold. This is a significant resource I want you to have and I’m betting you’ll use. Jim Dethmer, the author of it (with Kaley Warner Klemp) told us he is glad to have us share it far and wide. This post is primarily for coach clients and other coaches in my network who are practicing with their own states of awareness on purpose.
The context for using the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation was just a door through which I wanted to share this post, because I experienced the flow of so much emotion into my own community life (and my inbox) about it. It seems to me it’s excessively triggering me and so many of us at this moment that I abandoned my other post about Lumina Learning and decided to share this instead for the September post.
Back to the practice. Yesterday Dethmer led a group of us (professional coaches I’m happy to be studying with for the next 3 months) through his 1-page visual he calls “4 ways of leading in the world” and related 1-pager called “above and below the line.” Both visuals need very little explanation and can take less than a minute to practice once you grok it. At the very end of my post here, if you want a sample, I’ve offered you a step-by-step version of how to use them. Easy.
“Remember, through practice we grow in our awareness and that’s the point,” he said, “shifting in our states of consciousness.” Jim is a master coach, author and founder of The Conscious Leadership Group.
You’ll find the links to Dethmer’s source documents at the bottom of the post.
States of Being — or “ways of leading in the world”
Dethmer says probably most of us will spend our lifetimes moving between and among 2 or 3 of these states all the time. Period. He calls the states (only showing 1 to 3 here, of 4 total):
“To me” (life happens to me);
“By me” (I make life happen);
“Through me” (I cooperate with life happening);
Summary: to me, by me, through me. Three states of being.
You are probably like most of us: scared and triggered at times. “To me” might sound like: “Someone should fix this.” “Whose fault is this?” “Why me?” That comes and goes and comes and goes through life. So, it makes sense to practice with all the moves, but especially the one between “to me” and “by me.”
“By me” might sound like, “I’m so curious!” “What can I learn here?” “What do I want?” The point is to start noticing ‘where you are’ between these two states at any given moment. Why notice? Because then you have a choice to stay there or shift your state on purpose.
Have I lost you? If so, I predict you’ll see his 1-page visual and say, “I get it now. I can use this.”
Dethmer asked us to play with this reality that we move all the time between acceptance/trust “above the line” and resistance/threat “below the line.” And he even made a guess that probably about 95% of us spend about 95% of our time below the line. That’s the line: managing threats below the line, surrendering to trust above the line. Stick with me now, this is going to get real.
These are not “stages” of adult development, they are states of being. It’s not like we move through and ascend. We move around back and forth all the time between these states of states of being.
Dethmer points out that when we are in fear/defense mode it’s often about survival and flight, fight or freeze. In that state, we are “not available” to stabilize ourselves and make a different, conscious choice about what we are learning, what we can create, and what ‘wants to happen’ through us. As in neurobiologically: not much available.
That stuff above the line where we sort of come undone and can see “see unlimited possibility,” wonder and awe comes at a price of “surrender.”
Think of intense gateways of pain you’ve already come through where you could not fight, collaborate, withdraw, or win. That’s surrender.
About birthing babies as one example…
One personal experience I don’t mind mentioning in a business blog (ha!) is the opening and dilation of my cervix to a full 10 centimeters to allow for the birth of my 9-pound babies. At the end it was total surrender.
It seems to me that not all “intense gateways of pain” seem to yield such obvious benefits (e.g., babies), yet that’s where trust comes in, cooperation: “where acceptance meets fear.” Ah, there we are. Now we’re learning. Now we’re asking, what’s life showing us? What wants to happen here?
Those of you who are my coach clients and partners, “where are you now?” Just notice. Once you notice, your choices open up, don’t they? They sure do for me.
Optional look at how I assessed a few moments for me
I checked out the quick list of sample “statements, behaviors and beliefs” above and below the line and was asked, what one or two things in each column feels or sounds like me?
Below the line, my own self talk included:
Statements: most similar to my talk track: “they don’t get it.”
Behaviors that stood out for me: “get overwhelmed.”
Beliefs included: “there is a threat to me occurring out there.”
Finish playing this with me now by looking at the list of sample statements in what sounded true above the line:
My Statements: “I feel worried about this Supreme Court nomination.”
My Behaviors: “breathe” and “take responsibility” and “appreciate my friends and community” (as well as organizers, and ultimately leaders in the Senate who will vote “no.”)
My Beliefs: “there are more than just one or two possibilities…” and “all people and circumstances are my allies.”
Go here to get the two 1-page visuals
- Go to https://conscious.is/resources
- Scroll down to “handouts”
- Look at the one-pager “4 Ways of Leading” first
- Now play with the one-pager “Locating yourself: Above or Below the Line”
- Heightened awareness. Now what state do you choose? There is no “right” answer…really
Thank you Jim Dethmer and Conscious Leadership for your generous gift of this practice for us as we lead ourselves through yet another challenging moment, and the next, and the next.
A bit about me: I work with government clients and their partners as a professional coach and third-party facilitator in navigating conflict, change and learning opportunities of all kinds. Find me at http://www.cadenceinc.us and more of my long-time work mates at http://www.triangleassociates.com. If you see something of value here for you or someone you know, I’ll appreciate it if you pass it along.