A story opened the session: As a participant in a 7-month transformational coaching process, I realized the program definitely raised my self-awarenessness and my commitment to be more intentional about being and becoming the person I intend to be. Sound lifting? Well, I felt "should on" (you should do this, you should do that...) and without the skills I needed to pull it off. As an org development/performance consultant, I vowed never to raise awareness without also building supportive skills.
In this session, Susan was seeking HOW to do that? With Sari and Leslie, we came up with some very good ideas. Here's an insufficient summary of our much richer dialogue:
It's important to focus on 3 levels: me, us, organization.
If we're intentional about BOTH raising awareness AND building related skills at EACH level, we will enjoy these outcomes: We will gain COMMITMENT at the "me" level, "ALIGNMENT" at the "us" level, and COMMUNITY at the "organization" level.
So, what kinds of SELF AWARENESS would we raise? Awareness of everything "What I want in life" all the way to "what I want from this interaction." Awareness of "what's going on in self" at times when I have an urge to argue, or advocate, or shut down -- at times when I'm upset, fearful, confident, feeling free, feeling restricted... Awareness and shared understanding of "What We want"
And what kinds of SKILLS would we build? Skills to creatively interchange with others: To paraphrase others' stated facts, emotions & underlying belief/values; To find & state positives in others' ideas; To communicate drawbacks we see in ideas as "I wish we could overcome/create..."; To simply ask, "What leads you to believe...?" when we can't find the intention underlying others' ideas; To invite others to provide us with feedback; To invite others to accept or deny the feedback we have for them; To ask others, "What might support for you look like in this situation? and who might provide it? and why?"
Perhaps the AWARENESS & SKILLS we most need to teach are those of openning space everyday in all siutations. How might we do this? By teaching how to communicate with the FEWEST OR NO powerpoint slides! By respecting/interpretting others' questions as if they're NOT RESISTING but simply saying "I need more information to reason-test your ideas and decide if your ideas are consistent with my values."
Yes, we decided, we CAN raise individual commitment, group alignment and organizational community by teaching awareness and skills - iteratively.
We cited several resources that could help with content: "me" level ==> "The Greatest Good" by Palmgren and Petrarca; "us" level ==> a book on feedback by Seashore and Seashore; "org" level ==> "Managing Transitions" by William Bridges (see wwww.wmbridges.com)