Cooperative Inquiry Groups

In any area of management, you will hear phrases like being “on team” and “singing from the same hymn sheet” practically every day. The concept is simple and logical enough – managers and their reports are, or at least should be, working toward common goals and with the same interests. This is essentially what cooperative […]

Emotion – the ‘elephant in the room’ in team conflict (Part 2)

Last time, we summarised the three major sources of team conflict identified by leadership expert Annie McKee (insecurity, desire for power and habitual victimhood). I’d like to explore what can be done to prevent these patterns from undermining and sabotaging the healthy team conflict of debate. Firstly, conflict should be seen as pervasive and inevitable – […]

Ten tips for effective team coaching (Part One)

Here are some key tips I’ve come to consider core features of effective team coaching, a process that I believe should never be confused with advising and directing. 1.    Dodge the bullet. The “bullet” comes in the form of an implicit supplication: “Solve our problem(s) for us.” It’s exceedingly tempting to fall into this role […]

Using experimentalism in effective facilitation

One of the characteristics of complex organisations is that they rely on different forms of expertise to function. However, problems arise when the experts are siloed in their own teams or departments, perhaps exchanging a few friendly words with colleagues from other specialist fields at lunchtime. Experts from different disciplines speak different technical languages to […]

What’s at the heart of effective facilitation?

Effective facilitation isn’t simply a matter of getting people together in a room. The facilitator needs to demonstrate some core competencies – subtly, but authentically. Participants should feel the presence of these competencies even if they aren’t fully aware of them. Here are some that I consider indispensable. Empathy: the empathic facilitator starts not simply […]

Management, uncertainty and complexity (Part One)

In the 1990s, when academics and business leaders first began discussing the idea of applying complexity science to organisations and businesses, their enthusiasm failed to be picked up by the majority of managers. Managers were resistant to seeing the world as it really was (i.e. infinitely complex), preferring instead to wish this issue away in order […]

Gestalt facilitation catalyses figure-ground awareness

Gestalt facilitation places much emphasis on being present in the here-and-now of a team or organisation. I don’t see it as my role to direct change in a preconceived direction, but to expand the perceptual resources of the participants. By doing so, they’re freer to use their energies to proceed differently, but the choice is […]

Effective facilitation loosens the ends and beginnings of the story

Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips once wrote: “The aim of the analysis is to restore the loose ends – and the looser beginnings of the story.” I’d like to bring this idea into alignment with my own Gestalt approach to effective facilitation. Phillips is suggesting that the past may indeed be the repository of all the experiences […]