Allowing your thinking some space and time
Using my desire to become the best version of myself via some self-coaching activities I have started to develop a morning routine whereby I do some reading from the assorted pile of books on coaching related topics that sit on my bedside table. (I’ve realised that just having these books near to me will not mean that the knowledge they contain will automatically transfer to my brain!)
I am currently working my way through ‘Gestalt Therapy’ and I am challenging myself to conduct and reflect on the suggested experiments within the book. Today’s experiment was about deepening awareness and the text from a page that jumped out and came into my awareness was: “The notion that ‘thoughts’ on their own initiative and without any help from you ‘enter your mind’ must give place to the insight that you are thinking the thoughts. (p85)
I decided to work with this idea of where do my thoughts come from and notice the content of my thoughts. As I went out for my morning walk today, near Cambridge, I tried to empty my mind and be aware of my body and the contact I was making with the external environment. All my effort and awareness was focused on the physical contact I was making and then I became aware that my thoughts, for no apparent reason, shifted to my nephews, one of whom I saw at the weekend and is about to move house. Without too much effort I just allowed this line of thinking to emerge, to have some fun with the experiment and to be curious where the thoughts would go.
The interconnectedness of my thinking went something like this: my nephews are very dear to me. I have had all the fun of being an Aunt, encouraging my nephews to experience things that their parents might otherwise be cautious about. According to an e-card that someone sent to me, apparently 9 out of 10 children get their awesomeness from their Aunt. A sentiment I wholeheartedly support and shared with my nephews for validation. They naturally agreed! The experience of being an Aunt has taught me about a different type of responsibility, courage and risk taking; all things I value in and about myself and what I value in my approach to coaching. It has been a timely opportunity for me to reflect on these values and how they can support me in my current situation.
The insight I take away from this experience and experiment is that whilst thoughts may appear to be random and sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, they seem to serve a purpose. Working with your thoughts as they emerge rather than trying to censor them or rationalise them can provide a fruitful and enriching experience.
I would be interested to know what resonates with you, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
5 June 2019
 Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth into Human Personality. Frederick Perls, Ralph F. Hefferline & Paul Goodman.
MOVING FORWARD WITH THE RESEARCH
Helping teams to resolve issues often focuses on interpersonal behaviours and relationships. These are undoubtedly important, but other issues can arise with more of a task focus: ideas may not get heard, low risk tolerance can stifle creativity impacting on team performance and productivity. (This article succinctly sets out the range of challenges facing teams: https://workplacepsychology.net/2010/12/17/eight-common-problems-teams-encounter/)
Our current research project seeks to identify the types of task based challenge that impede team success. As trained coaches and mediators, we are fascinated by team dynamics and how synthesizing our work as coaches and mediators can facilitate the harnessing of conflict into productive outputs.
Through listening to individual stories of conflict and analyzing emerging themes, we aim to identify the most common challenges that lead to conflict. These themes will then form the basis of a tailored team coaching workshop that will facilitate reflection, creative adaptation and action planning. https://www.level7live.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/General-team-conflict-flyer.pdf
We’d love to hear about your experiences of conflict in teams and how that conflict has been channeled into successful outcomes. Do get in touch with us to share ideas and help with our research. Email us at email@example.com.
The desire for organisations to innovate has become deeply embedded in the organisational psyche; whether that be private, public or not for profit type organisations. The word innovation appears in vision and mission statements, in lists of value statements and in key performance indicators. Innovation is the new ‘change’.
Level Seven has always been interested in helping organisations and individuals to be the best that they can be especially within the backdrop of improving innovation, leadership development and personal performance https://www.level7live.com/leading-the-human-interface-of-innovation/ As professionals working in the area of talent development, we use coaching and conflict resolution skills on a regular basis. https://www.level7live.com/conflict-resolution/
As a result, we have become increasingly fascinated by the systems within which people operate, in particular the impact of individuals on teams, and of teams on innovation performance. What has emerged for us is a strong interest in how positive conflict resolution can be applied in the context of innovation performance and team coaching.
Studies on innovation in the workplace have been conducted from many perspectives, including, business performance, leadership performance, team performance, individual creativity to name but a few. We are specifically interested in two areas that we believe impact on successful innovation performance. The first is how conflict in teams can be seen as a positive concept and second whether using a process of conflict mediation within a team can have a positive impact on innovation performance.
We are undertaking our own research project that focuses on the human factors of innovation in a team environment concerning relationship issues between different stakeholders. We will investigate what issues arise that put people into conflict with one another; how they have attempted to embrace these issues in positive ways whilst still working with the usual constraints such as budgets, timescales and evolving needs of users and customers. What are the stumbling blocks to successful innovation and what have teams done to overcome them? Drawing on models of team coaching, we will explore how these models can be synthesised into a process of conflict resolution such that the team’s innovation performance can be enhanced.
If you are located in or around Northamptonshire or Cambridgeshire and think that your teams would benefit from the insights that taking part in our team conflict resolution research can provide, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflection 7: Output and action or what do I do with my reflective output?
Over the last 6 blogs, we have shared insights into how to be more reflective and support reflection in ourselves as well as our colleagues. We hope that you have felt inspired or at least had your reflective strategies validated by the ideas and sources of information that we have shared. In this our 7th and final blog in the series, we highlight a selection of strategies for action……having reflected, what next? How can we make effective use of the outcomes?
In our last blog, we looked at cognitive biases and the effect these can have on our reflective capabilities and outputs. In our blog No 4 on cognitive preferences we considered how cognitive preferences can both hinder and help the act of reflection.
In this penultimate blog in the series of reflection, we would like to stay with cognition and consider the concept of intuition and its role in helping to deepen our ability to reflect effectively.
In our continued journey into the art of reflection, we shall be looking at the interrelated concepts of mental models and cognitive bias and how they impact on our capacity to reflect meaningfully. In our previous blog post in this series, we discussed the idea of cognitive preferences and suggested that when reflecting we could enhance our reflective activities and outputs by applying System 1 and System 2 type thinking modes to the issue that we were reflecting on (Kahneman, 2011).
One of our obsessions is spreading the word about the power of coaching and contributing to both local and global communities of practice. Earlier this summer, we were delighted to work with Paul Lin, founder and president of Oxford Educational Cloud (http://www.oecglobal.org/about/team/), to tailor and deliver our Introduction to Coaching workshop for a group of Chinese entrepreneurs. The group were on a visit from China to soak up the culture of Oxford and Cambridge and also to access quality academic learning to inform their business leadership and practice.