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“Walking around the Garden”




CSA CPD Day London 28th June 2014


Have you ever taken a walk around a garden with your supervisee and explored the different seasons and their effects on the mind, body & spirit of supervision?

At the recent CSA CPD day we were invited into a very special supervision garden by Sam Magill. He invited us to explore the seasons of the year with our supervisees to enable significant metaphors to emerge. What a wonderful way to facilitate our coachees and supervisees to deeply reflect during sessions.

So how did it work?

Sam placed a small representation of each season on the floor.  He added a fifth season – late summer harvest – to the circle.  Spring was a small plant with new fresh leaves sprouting, Summer was a candle with a burning flame, Late Summer harvest was a basket of fruit, Autumn was a white cloth of shimmering light with the smell of lavender essence, Winter was a dark bowl of fresh renewing water.

As an introduction Sam showed pictures of stunning scenes viewed to the background of Nat King Cole singing “What a Wonderful World” then he read some beautiful lines from a variety of poets including his own and some of Yeats & Shakespeare.  This set the scene for imagination and images to flow and for participants to evoke memories and associations to the seasons.

The objects denoting the seasons had been placed in a circle in the centre of the room.  Sam then invited one of the CSA graduates to join him in a ‘walk around the garden’ of supervision.  He began where it seemed appropriate and gently facilitated the supervisee to explore each of the elements suggested by the seasons.

For me as a Clean Language Supervisor this really resonated with me as I know how powerful metaphors can be for our supervisees.  When we ‘cleanly’ develop them with individuals they are able to reach deeper more rewarding and resourceful places.  In the triad practice groups we were then invited to use this seasonal garden to explore issues/situations we wanted to bring to supervision.

I will certainly be using this in my practice both for coaching and supervision as the results we had in our session really took the exploration to another level – right down into the bottom of the Theory U connecting to the source and delving deeper into areas of renewal.  That essential connection to the world and place of inner knowing that emerges from within.

What I took away particularly is:

In winter when all is dark and the earth is covered in ice and snow, below ground the roots are able to grow stronger.  They have the peace and quiet of the darkness to rest and renew.  The ice will melt, spring water will flow and refresh the garden in time for the spring to burst forth in all its glory.  Then, and only then, can we feel the flame of summer, reap the late summer harvest, enjoy the evening light & smell the real essence of autumn.

Jackie Arnold  CSA Accredited Supervisor