As an American working outside the States all my life, I often see things differently from the way a person does ‘on the inside.’ When facilitating a session with a client individually or in a group, I might offer images on what I’m hearing or pose queries on what isn’t clear from a different angle.
Sometimes this external nudge can help, unblocking a team’s approach to a problem or jolting a client into seeing things anew.
Most people I work with are undergoing a challenge or change. They may feel stuck or frustrated, so one role I might play is helping them re-frame what it is they are up against and trying to achieve. This can invite more attention to the relationship or more focus on interpersonal influence or on political skills. Taking on a new managerial role or implementing a reorganisation is stressful. So can things be at home. Each feeds into the other – the personal and the professional affect each other. So in my approach both can be worthy of examining if the client is okay with that.
This facilitating, advising, consulting might see me asking a ‘fresh’ question or confronting an attitude of the client’s. I’ve been doing this internationally for 40 years in the corporate world, with state executives, and with voluntary organisations in different cultures – mentoring UN Peacekeeping staff, team coaching managers and specialists at UK business schools, training supervisors and leaders to enable the development of their staffs. It feels right when a client comments I “turned learning on its head.” Or you “made me think and reflect on aspects of my life that I hadn’t focused on previously.”
I try to keep body and brain joined up. Having worked at a British university in postgraduate international development, I know rationality can be overvalued. But for me life is physical, feelings are part of the facts, and human interaction remains central. I enjoy learning more about these inter-connections, keeping fit in body conditioning classes, and in spare moments savouring episodes of Madmen and The Good Wife.