The title of this piece is ‘Who you are is how you work’ it comes from the Coaching Supervision Association website. I think its pretty obvious that how you show up is a reflection of your work. When you are in a place of balance, awareness and calm you will be able to handle what comes your way, hold the space for your clients and be in service. When we are out of balance in ourselves it will leak in our language, behaviours or emotions. We will not be the best we can be.
I am sure we can all think of times when we have worked with a client and not been at our best. I know that when I had food poisoning whilst running a workshop my style shifted from extrovert high energy to a calmer more thoughtful energy. Days that I am worrying about a business issue or concern I can feel it in my body which can lead to tension, my language patterns change or I hear my tone of voice shift.
So what to do about this? How can you continue to grow yourself and provide self care? Often when we work for ourselves and alone this can be a low priority. We can be too busy looking after our clients and the business.
For me I know I need to find space and take time out to reflect and think. Working with a coach is important to me. I have worked with Judy Wilkins-Smith and Sheila Belanger both excellent coaches in their own fields.
I recently attended a great workshop on Presence too. It is an offering from the fantastic Damion Wanfor
The workshop was around how do I need to be and what do I bring?
The context I set those two questions in was The School of Facilitation. If I am to be the best that I can be for my clients, the network of facilitators, trainers and coaches I am gathering together I need to be at my best. To be good at what I do I need to ensure I am ‘polishing my saw’ (Covey) on a regular basis and owning my ‘shit’ (please excuse the bluntness).
How as facilitators, trainers or coaches can we be at our best for our clients if we don’t take care of ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually?
I leave you with these thoughts –
How do you polish your saw and provide your own self care?
Who do you talk to?
How do you give yourself space and time to reflect, grow and nurture the inner you?
I genuinely think our inner work will guide our outer success.
Watch this space as I think this is something we are going to bring to life through the School of Facilitation
Today I skied on my own, again. This is day 5 in my little experiment of being by myself on the mountains skiing. What was different about today was that I had the clouds for company. They were up close and personal. As you can see in the picture, there wasn’t a lot to see other than their white/grey fuzziness and to feel the cool damp air on the skin.
At times I wasn’t too sure what was up and which way was down. I sensed my way down slopes I had skied before, relying on my muscle memory, trusting my unconscious that we know how to ski and can make it down any slope, shushing the inner voice when it started to tell me we didn’t know what we were doing and that we were going to ski off the path and down a precipice! This nearly become a reality when I was tentatively making my way along a blue piste. The mountain was to my left and the drop to my right. On mountains routes are marked by 2 metre coloured poles on either side of the piste. Today I could only see one pole. I made the mistake of thinking I was close to the mountain side when in fact I was heading for the edge and about to fall, but I didn’t. My unconscious knew what to do and corrected my direction.
I started to realise that I could do this, that my conscious self should take a back seat and trust the unconscious self. The unconscious self who has stored up all the information on how to ski, who remembers the runs I have done in the past and who knows me better than I know me.
So what’s this got to do with facilitation and training? A challenge provokes parts within us. These parts can be conditioned and show themselves as a fear or limiting belief. I was being challenged by the pesky clouds and at the same time reflecting on why I still haven’t run open facilitation workshops for my peers and colleagues but I have run them for private clients and businesses.
Well when you are alone for long periods of time you think about all manner of things. My inner voice, the critic was telling me no one will come to one of my workshops and I don’t really know what I am doing (yes go figure, apparently its called The Imposter Syndrome. Click here to read more)
So my learning from today’s little adventure as I made my way along the blue piste post missed fall was that I do know what I am doing. Just like my skiing I have been practising my craft for 10 years, I have been coached by people I respect, each year I ‘polish my saw’ by continuing my learning about facilitation and training. I even have the certificates to prove it!
The only ‘thing’ holding me back was a little fear which said ‘no one will come’. And this I learnt is untrue. On the slopes I was on my own the majority of the time and then I came across other skiers and boarders. I would start to follow some people until I realised their path was not working for me. I remembered I could choose my own path that it was often easier and simpler.
Yes it felt reassuring to see other people on the mountain however I now know I make good decisions and to trust myself, even when I don’t know which way is up.
I have to admit I am a bit obsessed with questions. It’s fair to say I have some firm beliefs about questions to the extent I have had an argument with an ex-boyfriend over what was meant to be a romantic lunch as to the difference between an open question and a closed question. I talk passionately about the different types of open questions that us facilitators can use, when I run sales workshops I find I myself telling Account managers, Field Sales reps or Sales Directors they have to work on their questioning technique even my friends can feel the wrath of my belief that if you want to understand someone or get to the bottom of a situation you have to ask open questions. None of these – do you? is it? are you? nonsense which only gets you a yes/no or average response at best.
Where are the questions that provoke thought? Where is the consideration to the outcome of the conversation and therefore the question which moves you towards that outcome? Which of us are pausing to reflect on what we are hearing before asking the next logical question?
Lets go back to basics. I am a puritan when it comes to the definition of open questions.
An open question provides us with information, knowledge and moves us forward in our thinking or finding a solution. You can’t answer with a yes or no.
An open question has some common ingredients.
I am very clear that one of these words needs to be in a question to make it open.
What do you notice as you sit there reading these thoughts on questions?
Should you find yourself constructing questions like this ‘tell me what is the relevance of using questions in facilitation and what would an example be of a great question used within facilitation?’ you are likely to confuse your group and only get one of the questions answered.
Closed questions have a role in facilitation and conversations. They enable you to close down a discussion. You can use them to confirm your understanding. They are great to ask after a summary to clarify if you have understood what has been said or discussed. Remember to use your tone of voice to suggest ‘no more discussion’
What are your thoughts about the role of questions in facilitation and training?
How do you use your questions to effect?
Whats your favourite question to ask when facilitating?
On 18th March School of Facilitation is hosting a free webchat all about the power of questions in Facilitation.
What do you need to do to join? Email me on Kirsty.email@example.com for further details. What’s stopping you?