Recently, I had some ‘dock time’ and could dive into Peter Hawkins’ most recent book, Leadership in Team Coaching Practice, – one that I also have a chapter in, written in partnership with Dr Catherine Carr, and Chief Nishan Durraiappah, Peel Police.
There is so much to learn from and dig into in this great book. One section that stopped me was entitled, ‘Beatitudes”. Here Peter has constructed 14 blessings, not to mimic the biblical version of beatitudes, rather to draw attention to the depth and spirituality that exists in the work of coaching and supporting teams and systems. Peter appreciates the way that beatitude – really can be read as ‘an attitude of being’.
Here I will share my reflections on some of these beatitudes, and the impact I see them having on the work I do, as well as on my own journey as coach.
Beatitude #5. Listening to the field. Blessed are those who can truly listen, for they shall bring the gift of acceptance. (p. 364).
Listening is something we do all the time – or is it? As I work with clients to explore levels of listening and to bring awareness to the power of ‘truly listening’, I have seen this work alter leaders and teams dramatically. One client wrote:
“I am a better listener than I ever have been. I have an aspirational vision that I want to work towards. It has been empowering to discover that often, the answers we seek are within ourselves already, and we just need good conversation, with good listening, and good questioning to get us there.”
It strikes me that listening is simple but not easy. However, if we truly listen the gifts that emerge are very much a blessing.
Beatitude #12. A lifelong learner. Blessed are they who continue to learn and unlearn throughout their lives, for each of their days will be a new dawn. (p. 365)
One of my core values is learning – I love podcasts, books and discussions with others. I appreciate Hawkin’s pairing of learning with unlearning – ouch! Unlearning is something I have less energy for. Yet in the complexity of our world, how can we hold onto processes, thoughts or even behaviours when our learning has surpassed, and we ‘know’ better. And yet we do. I do. This blessing encourages me to open myself to what needs to shift, and in so doing, I will be able to embrace the ‘new dawn’. What are your strategies for learning and unlearning? How do you help your clients with this paradox?
Beatitude # 11. Reflective practitioner. Blessed are those who can see their own face and themselves as part of the system they are attending to, for they shall become undefensive and able to use themselves as a means to understand a larger system.”(p. 364).
How do we keep an eye not only on our intentions, but also our impact? And as we think more about systems, how do we use our participation in the systems of teams and organizations, to inform, and support the work? This is a high calling and one that I aspire to. One piece I notice is that if I don’t build time in for reflection, I am not a reflective practitioner. Similarly, if I am not working from an understanding of how systems work, it’s hard to see my part in that system. And so intentionally creating space and arming oneself with some key questions, are ways to continue to leverage our learning in service of our clients.
These are only 3 of 14 Beatitudes from Hawkins. As summer provides a bit more time and space for reflection, I am inspired to dig in and to seek the ‘be-attitudes’ described here – be a deep listener, be a learner AND an unlearner, and be a reflective practitioner.
Where are you drawing your inspiration and learning from this summer?