Tag: presence

3D Ideas 848: 90 Degrees

Claire writes: “Last week included a talk at the UK Conference of the International Coaching Federation as well as our annual Transforming Conversations open course.  I think that I learned as much as the delegates!

The live coaching demo was done standing up.  I always do that because everyone in the room can see, and also we know that people think faster when standing.  The nature of the stage meant that we were standing at 90 degrees to each other (think two adjacent sides of a square).  As she was talking and thinking, she was facing forward. I stood next to her watching her create some great ideas. And I only spoke when she turned to look at me.  That clear invitation to me as the facilitator of her thinking to only speak when she invited me in by looking at me meant that it was easy to wait and not interrupt her thinking.

It worked on Tuesday, so we shared it on Wednesday!  It was so effective, that Alex and I watched as someone accompanied a thinker.  The coach’s face suggested full attention and no question forming. He was simply noticing and bearing witness.  And then the thinker pointed to the floor as they moved to a new and useful insight. The coach turned and started to look at the same place on the floor.  Now there was 100 degrees between them and they were looking in the same direction. The coach scratched his chin and we watched as he got sucked into the stuff.  The edginess was gone! I walked up behind him and silently tapped his arm to encourage him to move back to a side on position. He stopped scratching his chin and the edginess was back!  Time and again over the last 48 hours we saw the value of that 90 degree position which allows us to be with someone and shifts from the kind of position where we are talking to someone and end up being seduced by the story. This is probably easier when we are standing up than sitting down.  Try it!”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd

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3D Ideas 845: Freezing

Claire writes: “I will always remember running a course on how to prepare for an interview when my co-facilitator shared their worst experience with the group. ‘The interviewer’s first question was: Why have you applied for the job?… and I froze’.

Good preparation can reduce the likelihood of freezing in interviews. Many conversations, however, can’t be prepared for and it’s common for people to get a version of ‘what on earth do I say now?’ or even brain freeze. When we are in conversation with someone else and encouraging them to think, our freezing can stop them thinking because they still experience what we think we are hiding!

In the improv pilot day at the end of last year, we all experienced the external version of freezing. It was terrifying and it was funny, and the work we did together in a space of trust enabled us to overcome some of the fear that makes a momentary freeze into something that disables us.

Presence and holding space well is a skill that’s important in leadership, coaching, presenting, and training as well as in theatre. I have travelled with a question for several years about whether you can teach this. And finally we tried it out with improv and it seems you can! Join me and Stuart Reid on Friday 11th October in Central London if you think that some attention to presence will support the work you do.”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 819: Neither From Nor Towards

Claire writes: “Holding space, or presence, is one of the greatest gifts of leadership – and an essential in coaching. TS Eliot describes it as
‘At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is’

Presence is intangible, hard to describe and obvious when it’s missing from a conversation. The only way to develop it is in an embodied way. A while ago, we invited a musical conductor to teach us how to conduct. Conducting requires presence. Something needs to happen in the space between the conductor and the orchestra to make the music happen. The conductor can’t make it happen. The music is co-created.

And so it is with improv where something happens between the audience and the performer. So on the basis that you can only develop presence experientially, we are delighted to be offering a workshop in Luton in December with Claire and Stuart Reid, who is a coach and has a lot of experience in improv. We’d love you to come!”

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com Register here to receive our blog posts every Monday by email

3D Ideas 816: Attentive Diversion

Claire writes: “Attentiveness or presence is one of the most significant parts of the way we work. And to borrow from TS Eliot who says ‘Teach us to care and to not care. Teach us to sit still‘, we are learning to be attentive and to not be attentive. So we are working very lightly until September so that all of us can have a change of pace and attention. You can email info@3dcoaching.com for bookings etc because one of us will check at some point each week to respond.

3D Ideas will be back in September. The autumn holds some exciting new areas of work and some brand new training including a day on presence through theatre improv. Bookings are also open for Using Coaching Over Time, Coaching people who are dying or grieving and Are we too soft? Learning from Jesus about Challenge. These programmes are for people with a minimum of 26 hours coach specific training.

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 765: Somebody and Nobody

Claire writes: “It’s a privilege to observe people in real time 1-1 conversations as part of training or development they do with us.  I watch people lean in ready to offer some sage advice, with good intention, or listen carefully so they can come up with the solution they think they are being asked to find. Often we are keen to make our contribution even on subjects where we are no expert! That’s made me think a lot about power.

Mads Morgan, who uses coaching in her role, once remarked ‘there’s only a certain amount of power in the room so if I take it, I have taken it from someone else.’  What concerns me is that when you see this happening, you can often see the other person diminishing.  In Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, Fuller describes this as somebodying and nobodying.  In coaching we try and keep responsibility in the middle to avoid the abuse of power and it’s a delicate position to hold.  I like TS Eliot’s notion – ‘Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.’  How often do we unintentionally nobody someone by over-caring? “
© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 755: Who does the work?

Claire writes: “I’ve just come off a phone call with a former conductor who is going to help run our Train the Trainer course tomorrow.  We were talking about over-conducting and under-conducting.  In conversations, we can be over present or under present – which is why he is coming to teach us.

If I want to increase the value of my conversations, it’s useful to move from

  • diagnostic questions where I see, interpret and ask sophisticated questions TO saying what I notice and letting you make the sense
  • listen to what I hear TO listening with my eyes to what I see and hear and sense
  • listening and asking questions with my head TO listening and asking questions with my body
Being fully present and getting someone else to do the work is much more likely to lead to transformation than when I work hard to try and make it happen.”
© 2016 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 689: Space and Pace

Nick writes: ‘We often think of coaching as creating a special space for a person to step back, often quite literally, from the pressures of day to day work and life to think about things differently. Indeed, the space we create between us offers a great opportunity for change.

Yet space is a bit like elastic. Too much space and the conversation can feel slow and lifeless, without definition or form. Too much pace and it can feel rushed, superficial and forced. Navigating space and pace is part of the, ‘How shall we do this?’ contract at the beginning of our conversation (the R in STOKeRS).

So I try to remember: just enough space to allow for reflection; just enough pace to keep things moving. It’s always a judgement call. How much space and pace does this person – in this situation, at this time – need? If in doubt, bring the question into the conversation!’

© 2015 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 681: What’s Resourcing You Part 1

Claire writes: “Preparing for a day with a group on fully inhabiting leadership was an opportunity to think about what stops us stepping up?  There is plenty to read and courses aplenty.  Yet when people still feel they are not quite there, apart from the positive benefits of a certain element of doubt, what might be happening?

Some of the leaders we work with are surrounded by teams – some are physically more isolated.  Nicky and I have both received systemic training recently from John Whittington who asks: What’s behind you? What’s resourcing you?   He talks about each of us coming with a plume of feathers behind us – like a peacock – people who rate us, who commissioned us, who trained us, who love us, our family of origin and so much more.  Some are resources.  Some are entanglements – the person we felt bullied by who we haven’t seen for years but whose shadow inhabits our back stage.  Unconscious entanglements can hold us back.  Acknowledged, and processed those too can become resources and make us who we are.

So what is behind you? What’s resourcing you? If you feel lonely or cut off, what needs to happen for you to notice it and bring it closer?  Who is in your cloud of witnesses? They don’t need to turn up in your building.  Acknowledging they are there can make a significant difference.

Many of the things that may be raised by this blog can be dealt with through reflection or coaching.  If it’s more complex and you can’t access it, that may be a sign that you would benefit from a different kind of support.  Happy to talk if it’s useful to work out what that might be.

© 2015 3D Coaching Ltd

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link toinfo@3dcoaching.com