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Great Relationships: more than just standing in another's shoes? (ITWS#10)

Being in touch with sense was a key aspect of a webinar that I co-delivered with Marcos Frangos earlier this week. We each invited our audience to think about how they might experience using different forms of representation to help them make sense of themselves and situations where they felt a sense of challenge. There was a lot learned by the group who engaged with the activities with real energy. Sight, sound and even touch bought the webinar to life as did our collective interest in understanding ourselves and the dynamics between us that are part of all relationships. The following captures a sense of our session which both of us see as something we want to build into a resource to use with groups and teams.....

What a delight and privilege to have been a co-facilitator in this week’s Salisbury ON-LINE International Coaching Week, which ran from 4-07 MAY 2020.

Along with my colleague Marcos Frangos, supported by the steady hosting and behind-the-scenes Zoomery of Ross Nichols, we shared with other coaches, psychotherapists, and a wider audience interested in: "Great Relationships: more than just standing in another's shoes?"

What can we do in our client work to enable a deepening inquiry into what’s needed for (even) greater relationships? That is at the heart of so much of our work.

We used the metaphor of shoes; standing more comfortably and with greater awareness in our own choice of shoes, getting to know our preferences, and how can we be in authentic relationship with others who will have their own unique patterns, preferences and behaviours? What does it like to truly stand in another’s shoes, to seek first to understand rather than be understood?

I guided our virtual audience through this rich territory using a shorthand version of the brilliant behaviour preference profile, Lumina Spark. Participants created their own unique mandala of giving a visual representation of their particular preference, responding to my enquiry into eight of their behaviour preferences. I also touched on how this personal mandala can be layered further to create a team mandala, that gives an instant visual picture of the range of available preferences. We touched on what this means to have people in teams with similar, but also quite different traits, and how might this be used as a catalyst for the team to grow its awareness.

It was clear from the informal discussions following on from the session that everyone was finding some value in what their mandala represented. It stimulated curiosity, thinking and no small amount of feeling and emotion!

Marcos picked up on this metaphor of standing in another’s shoes with a further questions of his own based on his considerable experience of constellations and how they are used in both therapy and coaching situations. He thought out loud about, what if we overlay that with another set of curious questions? With whom or with what (else) is the client connected currently? What other gravitational pulls might be exerted that might be outside of their awareness? How can we introduce our intuition, our bodies’ intelligent sensing; might there be patterns of belonging or relationships in the wider landscape of our client’s questions that are at play? Marcos talked about how thinking about these questions with a client can help them move from a 2-D picture of the issue that is interesting them to a holographic version of it.

Marcos and I then modelled a 15 minute real-life coaching conversation using Constellations as a methodology. We demonstrated how sometimes the physical mapping of a client issue, using objects as ‘representatives’ allows for a rich exploration of who or what else is there. Marcos helped me explore not only my presenting issue, but also brought encouraged me to bring in my ‘gut instinct’ to help shed more light into my inquiry.

Finally, Marcos and I concluded with some thoughts about what this exploration of deeper emotional geography can yield: how can we explore the world, our relationships to both the seen and the less conscious, developing a greater capacity for complexity, diversity and change? How can we enable our clients to move from win-lose to ‘I-Thou’ relationship?

We’ll be advertising a follow-on deeper dive webinar on these topics soon, meantime if you’d like to have an exploratory conversation, you can reach Jeremy here or contact Marcos here.

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