3D Ideas 887: Love, Leadership and Trauma

Claire writes: “‘Too much, too fast, too soon’ is Peter Levine’s definition of trauma. The covid 19 lockdown across the world has been huge and come with almost no warning. Even for those with a safe home, the change in lifestyle has been traumatic – before we begin to look at the impact of loss and grief on workplaces, families and communities. The ways in which we have led need to adapt and change. Everyone is experiencing some level of trauma. 

A few weeks ago, I met Sarah Broscombe for the first time. We were chatting in Zoom about stuff and got onto the topic of power. There is a chapter in my book about power, presence and partnership.  The conversation was so interesting that we agreed to reconvene last Friday to record a podcast. Little did we know that the world was about to change. You can listen here – it’s about 20 minutes long.  

At the end of our conversation, Sarah talks about Martin Luther King as a great example of leading in a situation that feels almost impossible. He said that “Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. … What is needed is a realisation that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

 

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

 

A different kind of funeral

These are unusual times and with social distancing we will need to do everything differently for a season. Doctors are encouraging us to talk about dying.  A few months ago Claire’s Dad who is in his late 80s started thinking about instant cremation. Here is what he said way before the pandemic. Claire and family are deeply grateful to have had this conversation early. It might be useful for you and people you know?

“You will probably know, if you are reading this, that I have a problem with crematorium funerals. Many years ago, I was asked to do the eulogy for a BBC colleague, and it was without much doubt the worst address of my life. So this may have affected my judgement.

But I think that one of the most important aspects of any funeral/memorial is for friends and particularly family to say goodbye, in a way that marks the end of something and the beginning of something else.

Different cultures have different ways of doing this. In our culture until not that long ago, this was marked by the body in a coffin going into the ground, and soil going on top of the coffin, neither the coffin nor the body being seen again. A proper farewell.

Not everybody saw it that way. Some thought that their loved one was still there under the ground. When I was a churchwarden, one grieving mother was very insistent that her son’s grave plot should be in the sunshine because he liked being in the sunshine. And a grave is a place which many feel that they can visit to remember and sense the connection with their relative or friend. But a proper farewell has been said.

Today it is much more likely that people wish to be cremated, for many good reasons which I share. However, this normally involves a crematorium service/ceremony, which I find troubling.

  1. If there is also a service in church (or wherever), which is the goodbye event?
  2. If the crematorium service is the goodbye event, it is a pretty strange one. You arrive to see a wooden coffin (or wait for one to arrive). And when you leave it is still there. And who knows where or when it is going. And you have to identify this box, which you have never seen before, with a person whom you have known intimately for years. And you do this in a strange building which says nothing to you about either of you.
  3. If this isn’t the goodbye event, what is it for? It does not mark the moment of death nor the moment of cremation. You briefly pass by the coffin on its otherwise unseen and unknown journey from one to the other, for 30 minutes, at a time which has been specified to you to fit in a schedule.
  4. At a time when you have lost someone who is very dear to you, do you really want to be involved with (necessarily commercial) dealings with an undertaker about the logistics (how, when, where)?
  5. The significant moments for the people left behind are the moment of death, the moment the body is taken from you (a real goodbye), and the moment of its disposal. Not the time of the crematorium service, which is definitely not the time of actual cremation.

I think this needs a rethink. So I am attracted by the idea of direct cremation, which a number of undertakers perform, more or less well. I am particularly interested in the organisation Pure Cremation. It is possible to make an agreement with them in life. With such an agreement, they will come to your home or hospital at death, and respectfully take the body away. It will not go from undertaker to undertaker. They will tell the relatives of the moment of actual cremation, so that they can remember their relative when it really happens. And a proper and unique goodbye service/event can happen anywhere at any suitable date and time.

I think this is a no-brainer. What do you think?”

3D Ideas 886: Changing Places

Email is the way to get hold of us now that we are working differently.  Remote has been a part of how we do what we do since the beginning of 3D.  It was phone work at the beginning and Claire is mid way through a live online coaching training for senior leaders across the world.  We have the technology! If you’re not sure how to use Zoom for training, Claire recorded a quick video hint last week.

Claire writes: “What strange times. Every day welcomes something odd that will become our new normal. We are learning how to slow down. Much of this is unknown. How long will it last? What will it be like? 

The battle in the supermarket is a less appealing part of change. I walk round the block three times a day in the spring sunshine savouring different. On my walks I have been thinking.  Last summer – when my daughter was here from New Zealand – we were having cold white wine every evening. I recognised that this was a habit I needed to change. Having never quite successfully completed dry January, a dry month felt impossible. Too many reasons to bend the rules. Counter-intuitively I decided to stop for longer and see whether that worked. This avoided the countdown of how many days were left. I found an online tribe called One Year No Beer.  I didn’t sign up and just read their blog posts.  It wasn’t easy for the first few days… but my app says I am now on Day 209 and I have no intention of drinking alcohol at the moment, although we have a plentiful supply. I don’t know if I have given up forever. That doesn’t matter. I am enjoying the benefit of what life brings when I live a different way.

Amongst all the confusing emotions, I am inspired a little when we are asked to live a different way for an unknown amount of time. Knowing that I have survived with no wine – and thrived on its absence for an unknown time period… it’s good to know that this slowlyness is also for a season. And who knows what we will learn?”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

 

3D Ideas: Using Zoom for Training

Strange times bring a different kind of blog post.  Anyone who has a Zoom Room has a space to offer to others.  And coaching is future focussed and optimistic – just what we need.  Hope this is useful? Feel free to share it.  And while you’re here, have a quick peek at the rest of the blog. It might be useful in the coming days! If you would like to get the blog by email every week, you can do that here!

 

3D Ideas 885: Take a Picture

Claire writes: “The best book I have read so far in 2020 is Somebody I Used to Know by Wendy Mitchell. Wendy was diagnosed with dementia young and this is her story.  It wasn’t an easy read but there was much to learn. At the end of the book, I wanted to know what happened next, so I looked her up. Wendy is alive and well and tweeting and blogging.

Last week, Wendy posted a photo of her bedroom wall.  She had gone in and seen something huge which worried and confused her.  She took a photo and left the room. Outside the room, she looked at it from a different place, and recognised the shadow of the pot plants on her window. I love that the concept of looking from a different place has such wide value.

In the last 48 hours, we have been thinking about what questions we need to be asking over the next few days and weeks about behaving responsibly and working in service of the greater good? As a result of this we have decided for the time being to stop all on site group and team events so that we can respect the UK government guidelines about social distancing. We will be focusing on offering online training, coaching and mentor coaching – so we are available to talk whenever that’s useful.

So this morning has been busy with logistics and phone calls.  Now that’s all done, and I can take a step back, I am reminded of Wendy and the photograph.  What I see from a distance is the opportunity to go more slowly, to focus on some useful and important developments, and to experience a different way of being. That’s exciting.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 884: Rightsizing

All our ethics training will now be available free on our podcast The Coaching Inn. Find our first recording on iTunes, TuneIn and Stitcher. You can also listen through the website

Claire writes: “A couple of weeks ago I was in my favourite coffee shop. It was the final day of writing my chapter on partnership and power and I was feeling seriously disempowered. On the phone, one of my coaching buddies said ‘Maybe this is about rightsizing?’. That’s a new word to me. So I rightsized my anxiety, by screwing up a sticky note to represent it – and popped it in a convenient hole in the brick next to my table. What had felt enormous was, when rightsized, quite a manageable thing to overcome. If I may invent a new word, my overthinking had wrongsized it!

Now I am back on the road training, I notice that contracting in conversations is an opportunity to rightsize the question. Which means that you can do good thinking around a situation – as long as the question we are exploring is the right size for the time we have.

We use these questions to rightsize. The first letters form the word STOKeRS: 

  • SUBJECT – what do we need to think about today?
  • TIME – given that we have x minutes, what about that do we need to focus on?
  • OUTCOME – what would you like to be different by the end of our time?
  • KNOW – how will you know you have got what you need out of this time?
  • e
  • ROLE – how are we going to do this?
  • START – where shall we start?”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 883: The Pale Blue Dot

Alan writes: “Scientists at NASA have unveiled a re-worked picture entitled ‘The Pale Blue Dot’, first captured 30 years ago on Friday by the Voyager 1 probe. What does it show? Well, us – the earth – seen from a distance of about 4 billion miles. The iconic view was made famous by Carl Sagan in his 1994 book ‘Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.’ He described the planet Earth as “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam”. The image has now been re-worked using modern techniques and software. To me it is charming and disturbing in equal measure.

One of the skills of helping people to think differently is to get them – metaphorically – to ‘stand in a different place’; if we stand in the same place we will usually see things in broadly the same way. A new view of life and its options normally follows when we are invited to make an internal shift in our standpoint. Technically we call this ‘reframing’ – and it can involve a positional shift, or a temporal shift. ‘What would it look like if you stood here?’ ‘What might it look like from the viewpoint of another person?’ ‘What might you notice if, in your imagination, you were to stand 12 months down the line and look back?’ These imaginative shifts open up new possibilities and new ways of seeing.

 

The NASA image has that impact on me. Thoughts turn… Smallness and greatness. Though I’m writing this gazing out of the window at the reassuring solidity of Belgravia’s elegant tree-lined streets and townhouses, and the vastness of this great city in which they are set, caught up in the seeming importance of life here (and my obsession with my life within that life), the view from 4 billion miles away moves things into a new perspective. The big things are suddenly very small indeed – and the things I suddenly need to be aware of come into focus. This tiny dot is us: and it is all we have. It is, within the ambit of the whole immensity of creation, entrusted to our care. We aren’t doing such a great job, are we? As Lent approaches, time perhaps for us to re-work our picture of life as a gift.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 882: The Least

We are launching a podcast! It’s called The Coaching Inn. In the first one, Su explores using coaching with groups in churches. Claire will be recording the next one later this week on coaching and safeguarding with Nicky Brownjohn, a coach and safeguarding adviser. You can read the blog post that started the safeguarding discussion here.

Claire writes: “We spent the weekend with friends who are downsizing to live on a narrow boat for a year. They are thinking about the least they need to keep to allow them to enjoy life. That is different from the most they can fit on the boat. It got me thinking about how often we try and fit the most in, rather than exploring what the least would look like.

Someone called on Friday to talk about Action Learning Set Facilitator Training.  He wanted to know if we offer accredited courses or qualifications. Although all our training can be used as part of ICF accreditation, we teach the least people need to know in order to be able to do a good job as facilitators. We could offer qualifications but it would cost more, they would have to come for longer and it might not add the equivalent extra value.

When I am listening to others coaching or mentoring, we regularly wonder together: What’s the least you need to say for them to move forward in their thinking?

Less is more is at the heart of 3D Coaching’s philosophy.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

Video – Don’t Talk to The Wavy People

Coaches: We need to talk about safeguarding

This is the text from an article posted on LinkedIn February 2020

This morning I was listening to a recording of someone coaching, as part of their professional development. The person who was being coached made a disclosure of historic abuse.

This is the second time that I have seen this in my role as a mentor coach/supervisor. But as much as we speak about standards and ethics in the coaching community, I have never heard conversations about safeguarding. And yet ethical practice is about what we do in the room when the rubber hits the road.

Our profession depends on confidentiality. And you if you caveat everything at the beginning of your first conversation with someone it could be perceived as being legalistic in tone. I say ‘this conversation is confidential unless there is a risk to self or to others’. The field in which we operate is working with people in their lives, teams and organisations and in the world. I need to be clearer ‘this conversation is confidential unless there is a risk to self, to others or by others’. When we over focus on the individual, I think that we are blind to the needs of others in the wider system. It is possible that there are children at risk today from the person mentioned in passing in a coaching conversation about something else altogether.

Do we know what to do when someone discloses to us? Is the coaching community wilfully blind to safeguarding? Are we reluctant to look at safeguarding to protect the confidentiality of those with whom we work. Does thinking about it make us anxious? I may not be looking in the right place, but if we really aren’t talking about safeguarding, is what we are doing safe enough? Might the feeling “It’s not for me to do anything because that was confidential” actually be an action taken in service of our own anxiety?

As a volunteer in a church, I am trained in safeguarding. The Church of England is accused of being late to the party and of having been blind to many small pieces of information heard in conversations that could have protected vulnerable children and adults. I am learning that it is not for me to decide what to do – or indeed not do. If I hear a disclosure it is my responsibility to the wider system to report to someone who knows more about this than I do. In service of the wider world.

When this first came up, I consulted with other people I perceive to be leaders in the coaching community and was told that we work with adults who we believe have agency. Yes we do. And how I engage with someone believing they are robust enough to deal with their own stuff is critical. Focusing on that alone misses the point. We know something that we did not know before. And we need to decide what to do with that – in service of the individual and others in the wider system who may still be at risk.

What will you do when you hear a disclosure in a coaching conversation about abuse by a third party? Choosing to do nothing is a decision which you are making. Margaret Hefferman might describe that as wilful blindness. The first place to start is to ask the person what do we need to think about together in relation to the disclosure? Are they safe?

This is not only about their safety. It is also about the safety of vulnerable children or adults in the wider system. Do you know where you can get good advice? In the UK, you can get advice from the NSPCC hotline 0808 800 5000. The reality is that we don’t know what to do. And when that happens, we need to seek advice from someone with more experience than our own.

Claire Pedrick MCC

3D Coaching

February 2020