I had a lot of fun with a group recently having a collective conversation with them about their Lumina Spark Profiles. As a Lumina Spark practitioner (see www.luminalearning.com) I have long been persuaded that Spark is a great profiling tool having experienced it from both the customer and coach/ facilitator perspective. Its ‘trait, not type’ approach alongside its clear exploration of our often paradoxical behaviour preferences is a powerful mix in raising self-awareness while avoiding the common pitfall of causing people to feel pigeon-holed. The carefully crafted language used in the questionnaire, as well as the profile that arises from it, is another great strength. It also contributes to ensuring people understand how their strengths based behaviour preferences change depending on personal context and can be very different from one situation to another. As well as raising self-awareness Lumina Spark is an excellent tool to increase understanding of the impact of self on others, a great asset in building a more positive team dynamic.
The fact that I am persuaded of the value of Spark is all very well yet does that translate to my clients? Being aware of the importance of understanding this I am careful to evaluate how a Spark profile activates conversation leading to new learning with my clients. Having used it in 1-2-1 coaching relationships and group settings I have found that, without fail, Spark encourages people to view their professional and personal selves through a different lens and to see new perspectives, new opportunities. In 1-2-1 situations this has enriched the coaching conversation leading my clients into areas that are exciting and interesting for them. In group situations the quality of the conversation encouraged between the members of the group is an indicator of Spark really does ignite discussions that lead to new learning. So often these discussions lead to the group members being able to identify the assumptions that have been dictating how they behave within the group. Having identified them the group work together to change the way they interact into something that sits well with them as individuals while fulfilling the needs of the group.
As for the group I most recently worked with. They are being formed into a new team within the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). Some people were new to the organisation, some were experienced, and others had already worked together. Each team member had their own detailsed Spark Portrait and in the early part of the programme we worked on some activities to make sense of the content. Having done so we shared key elements from personal portraits and worked together to think about how a particular behaviour was serving both individual and team needs.
As time passed the increase in trust and support was tangible. Along with this was a greater confidence to challenge each other, and to be challenged. The dialogue between the team members provided richest learning for the team, where the learning was coming from their own collective lived experience. For me it is always a pleasure to observe this transition from individuals to a collective able to share more openly with each other.
Returning to the question of whether my clients sense the value of their Lumina Spark portrait for both personal and team development. Like those before them my NIHR group found the Spark experience really informative and enjoyable. Everyone came away with immediate actions and a sense that they wanted to take their learning forward as a group. For example, one person commented ‘it’s a fantastic experience which enabled me to learn more about myself and those I work with’ while another said ‘definitely worth doing! You learn more about yourself and areas your team may have a development need in, in order to meet business need and increase the competitive edge’. The value of being able to get a sense of the collective team traits was noted in a comment ‘I found that plotting of where the whole team fell on the (Lumina Spark) mandala really interesting and felt it gave us all an insight as to where colleagues strengths lie in within our day to day work.
I am happy to take these and all of the other wholly positive comments as validation of my own positive experience with Lumina Spark. If you are interested in sparking new thinking to increase self and team awareness get in touch. Let’s start that conversation!