You can dance in a hurricane only if
you are standing in the eye. (Brandi Carlile)
Here are three tips if you find yourself in a storm in your life or work, drawn from my own hard-earned experience.
In the News
What mattered was what we had in common: caring for an aging mother, honoring nature and the land, parenting a teenager these days, thinking back on simpler times, and finding a good rhythm in working together. It was a reminder again of our shared humanity and the fact that we all are seeking to meet our needs the best we know how. In breaking bread together at the edge of the pool we met as humans first and foremost, then used that trust to learn from one another. In so doing, we allowed ourselves to be changed by the conversation.
It is why we focus more on generating human experiences than on giving abstract explanations in our narrative coaching, leadership and change programs. We start from a non-judgmental position, a respect for the whole person, and an invitation to greater awareness as the prelude to growth. We enable our clients to change by not trying so hard to change, by noticing what is true right now, and by accessing what is already present. In so doing, they can free themselves from the boxes in which they place themselves and others, find common ground and develop new ways forward.
In the News
I will be presenting a pre-conference workshop on "Using Stories to Drive Change and Employee Engagement" at the SIOP Conference next month. Find out more at http://www.siop.org/Conferences/17con/regbk/workshops/ws03.aspx
If you want to learn more about my latest work with attachment theory in coaching, listen to my interview by my fellow Fielding graduate, Dr. Katrina Burrus, MCC, on "Creating Moments of Meeting in Coaching"!
2. Time is art. Our lives these days seem dominated by time as science: the clocks that schedule our lives, the algorithms that guide our choices, the billable hours that shape our business, the marketing that drives our consumption, and more. There is value in the science of time as evidenced by the formation of the drop as it falls into the water. However, there is also value in the art of time as evidenced by the reflection of the flowers in the drop. This led me to engage the beauty in the moment more often as a way to remember our shared humanity.
3. Time is. In our narrative coaching programs we talk a lot about how stories are formed from disruptions and point toward desires. It is easy to get caught up in all the disruptions around us, which often leads us to feel like we are not getting to our desires. This photo was a reminder of one of the questions we teach coaches: "What is this story trying to achieve or resolve?" Time just IS, but we can define it by our disruptions (or our distractions) or by our desires. It is about allowing ourselves to remain present to what is so we can connect more deeply to ourselves and others.
How can you experience time differently today?
In the News
Next online narrative coaching course starts June 6th!
This is the last chance to take the course in its current form. It is a wonderful and intimate opportunity to learn the essential elements of this work with colleagues from around the world. The course includes over 200 pages of material, over 20 tools, and opportunities for coaching by me and your peers. You can find out more and register at http://www.narrativecoaching.com/narrative-coaching-for-practitioners.html.
In August we start building our new program in collaboration with WBECS.
Interview by the Institute of Coaching
I am doing a webinar called, "Mindfulness in Motion: Creating Real Change in Real Time through Coaching" on June 21st. You can find out more and register here.
One of the strategies you can use to deepen your trust in going deeper:
Striving to catch up is often driven by the fear of missing out (FOMA). I have been experimenting with working as if I already had what I needed. I notice and ease my fears when they come up by sharing kindness rather than grasping. I notice and release others' fears when I am allowing them to define me. I more intentionally self-regulate to let my fears pass through me as much as I can. As a result, I can use that energy to get done more of what truly matters to me and my clients. There is no need in organizations for false urgencies like setting platforms on fire or false destinations like 'caught up'. There is only going below the surface of our fears and descending “with the grandeur of our ordinary tears” because it is the right way to behave.
We are already caught up. Everything we need is already here.
IN THE NEWS
ONLINE COURSE IN NARRATIVE COACHING
To learn about working with fear and self-regulation in coaching, join us for our next cohort starting February 28th!
It is a great opportunity to join with other coaches from around the world to learn about radical presence, applied mindfulness, Three Chairs, serious play and more. The course features nine webinars, an abundance of resources and tools, and an active online discussion forum. You can find out more and register here. We have only a few spots left. Is one of them yours?
INTERVIEW ON MOMENTS OF MEETING
Check out my interview at last year's Harvard Coaching Conference prior to presenting on the use of attachment theory and narrative coaching techniques to increase our clients' ability to transform their lives.
There are big actions to take and big problems to solve—and we need to show up to them. It is also true that brief interactions with others make up much of our daily lives. Part of my practice now is to look for 'moments of meeting', often in unexpected encounters, where we can simply connect as humans. It might be acknowledging a difficult experience (safe haven). It might be providing an opening for an expression of joy (secure base). It might be creating more spaciousness to formulate a new story (working model). These moments remind us that we can always pivot toward our shared humanity.
For example, I was walking by a city playground on the day the President announced his intent to impose a travel ban. I looked up and saw a teeter-totter with a Muslim woman and her child on one side and another Muslim woman (sister?) on the other side—smiling as they went up and down. We caught each others' eyes and shared in their happiness as the young girl and the other woman giggled with glee. It was as if they had vowed to carry on with and celebrate their lives despite the fears others were projecting on to them. At the end I said, "I am not sure who is having the most fun (the little girl or the other woman)—to which they all laughed with even greater joy. That minute, largely in silence, was the highlight of my day. Note: I didn't take a photo out of respect for them that day and because I wanted to feel the exchange rather than succumb to a need to 'capture' it on my phone.
Look for moments to cut through the noise and connect with the signal of your shared humanity.
It is about shifting frames, witnessing others and being vulnerable ourselves.
Give it a try, then post a comment about your experience.
IN THE NEWS
To learn more about using attachment theory in coaching, join us for our next online course starting February 28th!
It is a great opportunity to join with other coaches from around the world to learn about radical presence, applied mindfulness, Three Chairs, serious play and more. If you already know about the work, you can sign up here. If you would like to find out more first, you can do so here. We have only a few spots left. Is one of them yours?
To learn about moments of meeting and narrative coaching, check out my interview at last year's Harvard Coaching Conference.
If you are in the Seattle area on February 11th, I am doing a workshop at the Society of Consulting Psychology Conference. Check it out here: Using Attachment Theory to Develop Coaching Capabilities in Managers and Leaders
This is just one of the reasons why I am making some significant changes in my business over the next few months. I am forming new partnerships, taking on a new company name and developing a new website to be able to reach more people with this work (and in new ways). Stay tuned as we grow our network and build on narrative coaching to bring our latest work to the market.
I am also launching a new weekly BLOG SERIES to introduce you to what is coming next. The focus is on using this work as post-professionals (Drake, 2005, 2009, 2014) to address the issues we face in organizations and communities. I will use the A-Z format again and focus on key principles and practices you can use straightaway. The aim is to provide a grounding for our unsettled energies so that we can move through the four levels of applied mindfulness (from coping to contributing) to care for ourselves and others in deeper ways. Look for the first one next Tuesday!
For now, come join us for our NEXT ONLINE COURSE starting February 28th! This intimate and interactive program is a convenient, exciting way to join with others from around the world in developing yourself to work in some profoundly new ways. It is about so much more than coaching . . . The 9 modules include sessions on using radical presence and generative silence, creating moments of meeting to get at the crux of matters, addressing social narratives so people can make sustainable personal change, and more! GET THE DETAILS AND REGISTER BY CLICKING HERE ON OUR WEBSITE.
What new stories and new conversations matter most to you now?
Registrations are open for next online narrative coaching course starting February 28th. It is a welcome resource for these unsettling times, for you and your clients!
I am presenting on Moments of Meeting in Leadership at APA Consulting Psychology Conference in Seattle on Feb 11.
My alliance with WBECS continues to move forward, and I am inspired by their vision for coaching and the world.
The reference-level Sage Handbook of Coaching I edited with Tatiana Bachkirova and Gordon Spence is out!
We are seeking graduate students interested in doing research with us. Email me if you're interested.
Let me share with you three connections I think are invaluable as we look ahead to what is next for our profession. They all relate to insights from my recent solo backpacking trip in the Sierras in California.
1. I was guided by the same topographic map we had used before. However, I soon discovered that many of the trails it depicted were no longer there and others I needed were not on the map. As a result, the hike became much more technical and difficult than I had anticipated in several places. I adopted the simple principle "ease and safety" to stay focused in each moment. The power of zero as an emptying of all that is a distraction. What old maps are you still using to guide your life or practice?
2. My original destination was an alpine lake I had loved as a young person. However, I discovered when I got there that it had largely disappeared. It was now just a small river running through the valley, the victim of a drought that had eroded the glaciers that once fed it. It was an 'empty place' that invited me to seek a new destination and purpose for my trip. And so, the reflective retreat became a powerful vision quest. The power of zero as a pivot between negative and positive, as with numbers. Where do you need to make a pivot in your life or practice?
3. On the last day, I saw this piece of wood. Somehow it reminded me of the cross in the Christian tradition. I was reminded of the great line, "Get off the cross, we need the wood." What I saw in this artifact was a person shedding the burdens they had carried, often on behalf of others. What was being revealed in the process was the deeper core and essence of their unique humanity. The power of zero as freedom to more fully express ourselves. What can you put down so as to travel more lightly?
I returned home a different person than the one who left, largely because I shifted the narrative frame for why I was there. It reminded me yet again about why narrative coaching focuses on what we can subtract from our practice rather than add. Where could you use the zero?
And with Zero, this series comes to an end and creates the space until we start the next one. Enjoy....
Tomorrow I head up to the Sierras (mountains in California) for a five-day solo trek. I look forward to the opportunity to attune to the rhythms of nature and my own authentic desires. It will be a nice re-set before heading into two amazing projects which kick off next month. I take with me this wonderful quote from Patanjali via Graham Williams:
For now, I leave you with this related thought, "You don't need that". It emerged from a retreat with Samir Selmanović, who is partnering with me to build my next business in support of the new projects. I will say more later, but for now take it with you into your day. Where can you release your need for more? Where can you create spaciousness for what brings you alive? Consumerism, in all its forms, has infiltrated so many aspects of our psyches, our societies and our economies. The new business and programs will focus on what is next after coaching—to enable us to do what matters to us and makes a difference for others. It is about keeping close more than keeping up.
I hope that you will join us for these new (ad)ventures in which we take narrative coaching and all it stands for to new places.
Three way to get started . . .
Dr David Drake is the founder of the field of Narrative Coaching.