Nick writes: “‘This person is defensive.’ ‘That person is disruptive.’ What do we notice in others? What could we be evoking – albeit without realising it? Jonathan warned me about resistive people in his team. He felt frustrated as leader that they didn’t engage with him or blocked his ideas. I joined the team as observer and team coach. He looked genuinely surprised when I commented afterwards on his provocative, critical style.
We agreed to try an experiment. At the following meeting, I opened with a role play: ‘Let’s imagine ourselves at the end of this meeting today and that it has been…brilliant! It has been inspiring and engaging throughout – the best meeting you’ve ever had. Now let’s have a quick conversation about what you noticed yourself and others doing during the meeting – as if it had really happened. What, practically, made the difference?’
The team stepped in, hesitantly at first but then opened up. ‘We had a clear purpose for what we were doing.’ ‘We all shared our best ideas.’ ‘We were willing to challenge each other, but it still felt supportive.’ ‘Jonathan listened…he really listened, and we felt heard.’ ‘I spoke up when I had something to say – instead of staying silent.’ ‘We had donuts – we’ve never done that before!’ I could feel the energy lift in the room.
We shifted from role play to real play as they worked on their agenda. ‘OK – we have a choice. We’ve looked at what works for you. Now let’s do it. When it feels inspiring and effective – say it. When it gets stuck or loses energy – call it.’ It felt shaky at first. It takes practice and commitment to establish new patterns of relating and working. By the end of the meeting, however, there were smiles around the room. ‘We did it!’”
© 2016 3D Coaching Ltd
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