Gifts, according to Peter Block, are abilities and qualities we are born and are inherently good at. For me, “empowerment” means accompanying people as they appreciate and explore how to make use of their gifts and assets to address needs and aspirations that they themselves identify as important. I feel fully alive when I witness people flower into their own intelligence and agency.
My own gift is the ability to think deeply, discern and make connections among ideas, phenomena, people, issues, events and so on. I am appreciated for being able to synthesise and articulate meaningful and constructive insights. People say they see their situations and selves in new lights because I help them see things more as wholes and illuminate holes in their thinking and assuming. They appreciate themselves freshly and are able to move forward with more confidence, intention and vigour.
I’ve been a dedicated student of the art of listening for over twenty years and have learned to listen appreciatively and generatively, using my full intelligence, including my bodily felt sense. When I shift into this kind of listening, I am saying to people, “I believe in you; in your beauty, your brilliance, your majesty, your agency, your best and highest self.” Listening like this entails asking good questions that free people to do their own thinking and deciding. I don’t envisage ever stopping learning the art of asking questions that invite further thinking.
I practice some methods (if that is what they are – I think they are much more than that) that support my gift. The most valuable so far are the Thinking Environment, Focusing, Theory U, Six Conversations for Community Building, Dialogue Facilitation and Warm Data Lab hosting. All of them are potential- and possibility-unleashing, promote independent sense-making, build relationships, value difference and appreciation – in fact, all of the Thinking Environment’s Ten Components. Ultimately, all of them support agency, regeneration, renewal, solidarity and (human)kindness.
I use all of this in my work as a leadership and organisation development consultant, coach, and facilitator. I have worked in strategic reviews and planning, management and leadership development programme design and facilitation, action learning facilitation, team building, people management systems renewal, and work process redesign. I am a teacher and tutor; coach and mentor; researcher, writer and editor of learning reviews and manuals, business and annual reports, business cases, project proposals and promotional materials; evaluator of education and training programmes and functions. I have held executive management positions in higher education.
October 2022« Back