An overview of our conceptual model that underpins team coaching with a design thinking approach. We believe this provides a more systemic way of delivering the benefits of team coaching to organisations in the current Covid world. We’ll be explaining each stage of our model over the next few weeks of vlogs.
Gill and Dorothy launch a series of conversations about linking design thinking and team coaching for a collaborative and inclusive post Covid culture.
In March 2018 I wrote a blog on the 7 thoughts to support innovation, click here for the full article https://www.level7live.com/7-thoughts-to-support-innovation/ with a slight, tongue-in-cheek nod to and attributed to the famous 5-boys chocolate advertisement of the early 1900’s
Design Thinking is a problem-solving process aimed at solving ill-defined, wicked problems, problems that have many possible solutions. Design thinking offers a structured approach to thinking and action and facilitates logical, creative and innovative thinking. Lately it has occurred to me that to be an effective problem-solving and embrace the process of design thinking is not enough, we need to approach our problem-solving activities with a particular frame of mind, something that I am calling a Design Thinking Mindset.
I thought it might be useful to revisit the seven thoughts to support innovation and reflect on whether they are still relevant and in particular do they offer any insight into how to go about developing a design thinking mindset. In this blog I will revisit the first thought – Inspiration. I suggested that inspiration is connected to being able to trust your intuition and intuition is inextricably linked to imagination. The quote I used to exemplify this was:
‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere.’ Albert Einstein
Inspiration arguably runs through any aspect of the design thinking process. As a facilitator of design thinking I might need to inspire the people I am working with to help them to get onboard with the process or idea of the moment. Then there may be times when I need to look deep within myself and tap into my internal reservoir in order to inspire my own creative capacity.
My view why I think design thinkers need to show and to cultivate the capacity to inspire is that the wicked problems are described as ill-defined and ambiguous and they often exist within uncertain conditions; inspiration may be something that can provide a degree of certainty to the people and to the problem itself. Something worth reflecting on further.
My suggestion to develop your inspirational qualities is to cultivate your intuition, know it, acknowledge it, listen to it (it may not always be right!) and be courageous to act on it.
Dr Gill Stevens
In December 2017 we wrote a blog on what makes good teamwork. Click here for the full article https://www.level7live.com/7-steps-to-team-work/
Since that time the world has changed in ways that we would never have imagined. Our business offering has changed too in that it is more focused and in line with what we believe people and businesses need to live and work harmoniously and productively. We have embraced a design thinking approach to all that we do and principles that underpin our work and life are those that very much underpin our approach to coaching and problem-solving.
Our ‘7 steps to team work’ provided a snapshot of what effective team work looks like, now we propose an additional dimension to the what, in terms of who makes an effective team?
In our design thinking work we know that diverse, multi-functional teams produce richer outputs, however, this diversity can also produce potential conflict. People with different views of the world will undoubtedly have different ideas and opinions and when discussed and viewed positively can help teams to make significant breakthroughs.
In reflecting on team diversity, an interesting perspective to consider is one that discourages us to look at people as a stereotype, especially a generational stereotype. Social Psychologist, Professor Leah Georges suggests that generations do not actually exist, it’s a construct that enables us to compartmentalise people and allows people to act in ways that are widely promoted and assumed about that group and actually people of different ages are more similar than different in their needs and motivational drives. https://www.ted.com/talks/leah_georges_how_generational_stereotypes_hold_us_back_at_work
So how does this view help us when assembling a team for a design thinking Sprint? Perhaps we could start by being courageous to view people as unique individuals. Georges talks about a person’s “onlyness” and it would be helpful if we aim to understand them in an empathetic way and the contribution they have to offer, irrespective of their age or whatever stereotype we want to categorise them as.
What stories can you share that will highlight and help to breakdown stereotype barriers and encourage more diversity of ideas, behaviour and action in teamwork?
Let’s start a conversation.
Dr Gill Stevens
Gill and Dorothy share their thoughts on 12 years in business together. They highlight two key areas of future focus and how design thinking and team coaching are at the heart of their services moving forward.
Developing Good Habits
I have been instilling a personal discipline each morning of taking time to do two things. One is to focus on a daily mediation and the other is to read on a subject related to coaching. For the latter, my current book is Gestalt Therapy by Perls, Hefferline & Goodman and for the former, I dip randomly into a book entitled, 360 Tao: Daily Meditations.
In randomly opening up the Daily Meditations book, today’s word is ‘Existing’. The description of the word invites the reader to think about clearing away the fog that obscures one’s mind and to explore more clearly the inner reality that exists.
Within the context of the Gestalt book, I am just about to begin a section on fixations, which is a sub-section of ‘Introjection’.
I am just setting off for a weekend of walking in an attempt to exercise my mind, body and soul so I feel I have sufficient time to reflect on these three concepts: introjection, fixation and existing. I’ll post a summary of my reflections on my return.
The reason I entitled this blog ‘Developing Good Habits’ is that all too often, when coaching clients, I find we are trying to work on breaking bad habits but what does it take to develop good habits? Well, in my view its motivation, practice, repetition and noticing when the behaviour becomes automatic. The above morning rituals now seem as automatic as brewing my morning cup of coffee.
I am interested to know how in your coaching practice are helping others to develop good habits? What good practices can we promote and share with others?
Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
 Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality, F. Perls, R.F. Hefferline & P. Goodman
 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, Deng Ming-Dao
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 email@example.com
5 June 2019
 Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth into Human Personality. Frederick Perls, Ralph F. Hefferline & Paul Goodman.