(Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash)
In the last years, I have had the pleasure to work with around a hundred different people in individual coaching sessions. It has been a pleasure and a privilege.
During the second half of the last year, a number of clients brought topics and growth opportunities to the table that are very much relational. By „relational“ I mean that the clients were aware that their present challenges have their roots in how they relate to certain tasks, processes and people, rather than some inherent characteristic of those.
If that needs an illustration, and if you are up for an experiment, I invite you to observe yourself. Do you find patterns in the way you relate to certain tasks, processes and people? I give you an example: I really don’t like getting letters. Birthday cards excluded – but as soon as I receive an official-looking letter, I like to put it away and imagine it contains some catastrophic news. This is obviously not a realistic expectation. Most letters are neutral, and some might be inconvenient, such as bills or administrative procedures, but normally, they don’t contain bad news.
This is an example of how I relate to the world of bureaucracy. I sometimes experience it as threatening and like to ignore it. Of course, I do open the letters eventually, but part of me would rather not.
The point here is that we all have patterns of relating, and coaching, both individually and in a group is a great way of spotting them and working on them. It allows you to become more aware, more conscious of your patterns of relating and ultimately freer.
During individual coaching, when people become more courageous at working with their patterns of relating, they might benefit from group settings. A group has the benefit of allowing you to explore many ways of relating in a group and with the group as a whole. You gain awareness of your patterns and get feedback on how you come across. You can change your patterns of relating if you decide to do so.
Awareness of your relating patterns is a crucial leadership skill. How do you relate to your team? To your peers? Trying out new patterns of relating in the heat of the moment is difficult, if not impossible. A coaching group provides a safe space, a laboratory, where you can experiment with your relationship patterns, all whilst working on a topic of personal importance to you.
In order to offer a service of relevance to my clients, I have resolved to start offering group coaching. It provides the opportunity to experience yourself in relationship to others and the group, reflect on the experience and change your behaviour if you like to do so. If I go back to my example above: I opened all the letters on my desk after typing the paragraph. There was nothing threatening (as was to be expected).
The act of writing about it brought my pattern into consciousness and made me realise just how much in „automatic mode“ I was. This newfound awareness opened up new ways of relating to the letters and solved the blockage. What writing did for me in this context, group coaching can do too. It can open space for new patterns to unfold – for the first time in the coaching group, maybe, and in „real life“ later on.
The first group starts in May and will focus on inquiring into your practice of leadership and management. If you are interested, get in touch!