Archive for June, 2011

Yesterday I attended my second session as part of John Whittington’s Learning Circle, which is an exploration of systemic coaching, using Constellations techniques originally developed by Bert Hellinger . It’s very absorbing, intense and also very interesting to see the unfolding of people’s systemic glitches and “stuckness”. Constellation work is focused around a small number of organising principles, which reveal truths about the way open systems work. Sounds kooky, and probably looks that way from the outside, but let me tell you (as some past postings here have attested) it’s very real and very therapeutic.

What’s even better, it is very practical and I have already started to allow the principles to filter into my workshops. There’s even no need to frame it for participants. We just get on with it, and you can tell from the stillness and concentration in the room that something is working. I find it complements reflective practice, too.

Now we all have a two month space before our next meeting in September, and I shall be looking for further chances to expand my repertoire and gain more experience. I already have an idea on how to change things around for my forthcoming “Building Career” PD workshop. Next stop, having a go with “sentences” (constellators will know what that means).

One reflection from the discussions at the Monday session was trying to articulate differences between “regular” coaching and systemic coaching.  John shared his “list-in-progress”. One which caught my eye was the idea that coaching very often begins and ends with the client’s goals. Somehow goals “fix” things. But do they? Is it that simple? Maybe, yes, sometimes it is, but then if that were so simple why wouldn’t people just work this out for themselves?  The systemic approach creates permission first to “acknowledge” properly things as they actually are. Standing there can reveal a lot, about us, about our goals… and so on. This is a good take-away for me back onto the MBA and another subtle differentiator for the Henley PD module. A tough one for many to feel comfy with at the beginning of their course, but then this is why PD runs all the way through.



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It’s been a while since a posting and this is hardly a good thing to admit. I’ve recently been “head-down” in the PhD and also on the road delivering Personal Development workshops for the MBA, neither of which is a chore, but both of which turned out to consume time that might have gone on the Blog. So, deep breath, and try to get some momentum up and running. Also, recently been re-evaluating Twitter and decided to give it a second go. I still am not sure what I have to say that anyone would be interested in seeing, or passing on, but perhaps I’ve been missing the point. To find out, I have decided to follow some active and interesting celebrities and see what they get up to. It’s surprisingly difficult to think of who when you sit down to think of who. In the end, I have gone for a selection of the witty/funny (NOT Stephen Fry in this instance) such as Simon Pegg (who is quite good), Charlie Brooker, Bill Bailey and Paul Merton, a selection of media/music people I might admire, such as Suggs, Evan Davis, Chris Hitchens, and people I might have a professional or personal connection with.

The title of this post is a sideways thought following the run of PD workshops, which have been about people developing plans for their own development or have been about looking in-depth at themselves in light of their career. Stuff like that. I find these workshops really rewarding, each one a challenge in its own way, and from each iteration I find myself reflecting on my own material (not just the presentation, but the concepts behind the subject matter) and on finding ways that I can encourage a deeper sort of reflection. Reflection is becoming a critical idea in my mind, and I think it’s probably THE core idea at the heart of all Management Education (notwithstanding that it would necessarily need to link to ideas about business acumen).

Henley is about to hire a full-time analyst to manage our rankings. This must therefore be a very important part of our success? So I was wondering to what extent the Business School where I work can answer this question – “what business are we in?” It seems to me that if we don’t know this, then we are likely to become very reactive in our choices, which will be dictated largely by the formulas and equations used by journalists to construct lists of MBA and Business Schools.  

Bit of a disjointed thought, I know, but I needed to find something to start writing about. The other thing which I am finding very engaging at the moment is a slight return to systems thinking, via a course I’m taking on systemic coaching using constellations. It’s giving me some new tools to use with groups, quite powerful ones, and is also making me more and more wary of labelling competencies as  a way of measuring educational (or personal) development.


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