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A great week!



I had a great week – attended two excellent conferences:  Relational Coaching at Ashridge and the Supervision Conference UK in Bristol.  A rare feast! Three things stand out for me:

1. Peter Hawkins’ grandchildren

2. Gianpiero Petriglieri and ‘nomad professionals’

3. Susan Boyle…again!

In Bristol, Peter Hawkins did an excellent job of enabling a large group of supervisors to do some big picture thinking about our role in a swiftly evolving world.  A world in which his grandchildren will eventually ask him what he did to ease the global mess that is brewing ominously.  Their sweet, bright faces on the screen will live with me for some time. We were able to think and feel our way into the values that lie at the heart of supervision and its role in the huge changes we face in organizations and in the wider, ‘more than human’  systems in which we live and work. He quoted  C L Redman:

‘Learning and change must be equal to or greater than the changes in the environment’.

The subject of interconnectedness was never far away in both conferences and it was very clear that our professional conversations need to be cognizant of the current global story and not just the client or team in front of us.

At Ashridge, Gianpiero Petriglieri spoke of the need to think about the ‘nomad professionals’, those clients – and coaches – who traverse the globe or who shift about in different professional and business contexts.  He underlined the increasing need for us to have a centre, an internal holding place we can call ‘home’. It seems to me that the work we do on centredness/mindfuness and the somatic practices that support heart, mind and body to be in alignment, are more essential then ever in a fast-paced, virtual world.  In CSA’s supervision diploma, these form the bedrock of training first class supervisors to operate powerfully and safely.

And finally, Susan Boyle. In one of the sessions at Ashridge, we were exploring the assumptions that we all make.  The presenter replayed on screen, the moment when Susan Boyle arrived in our consciousness – see You tube, if you are the one person who has not yet seen this!  We looked closely at faces of the judging panel and of the audience as this shy and awkward woman, in her middle-aged frock, walked onto the stage to sing.  Everyone’s face showed how they were expecting a disaster, an embarrassment. It was cringe-making once again to watch this moment in the session, even though we all knew the ending.  At that point, the tape was stopped as we focused on how strong the assumptions were.

I felt horrible then, so let down because I knew the rest of it and could hardly bear to be so deprived! When the excerpt was continued and we listened and watched again as this woman sang so gloriously and the audience roared her on and the panel rose to its feet, I thought: that’s what we need the presence and patience for – the emergence of what is brilliant in our clients and in ourselves – to give them the chance to show all of that. To encourage enough and to get out of the way long enough to let people shine.


Edna Murdoch  October 2013