As a Musician and Instructor in the Arts business/outreach/education for more than 25 years, I have witnessed some predictable cycles regarding engagement and leadership.
I wrap my Coach cloak around my shoulders, soften, and invite you to look at the picture and breathe 3 times, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Soften your focus. All is well.
Imagine you are standing on the shore and mindfully observe - without a story and with sharp focus - the bridge, the calm ocean, the sunrise, and mountains in the picture.
Take 3 more breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Settle into your mind body. Mindfully observe your internal landscape - without a story and with soft focus - what is in your present space right now.
Mindfully observe through your 5 senses - what is the temperature, what do you hear, see, smell, taste? No story about the senses - just witness the kinesthetic response.
Mindfully absorb the felt sense resonance of well being. Breathe that in 3 times through your nose, out through your mouth.
Welcome in gratitude, extend generosity.
We are going to use imagination and metaphor to see through another lens than our usual one. Soften your focus again and imagine yourself on the dock with a pole in each hand - one is the organizations' wellness and the other is the individuals' wellness. Imagine there is a rainbow spectrum in between these 2 poles. The felt sense is that of a slinky. The spectrum is not fixed - it is fluid and flexible. Side to side, up and down, front and back. Breathe, and observe the rainbow slinky sensations.
Much of the fluidity between the two poles depends both on personal and organizational Leadership. Both what the organization calls for, and who that individual is - their resonance and resilience. Their capacity to hold the space of grace in between. This is often a lonely only experience - that's where I come in as your Leadership coach.
Sometimes the rainbow spectrum slinky is at homeostasis, where the organizations' wellness and the individual wellness are aligned well enough and it literally hums along. Can you hear it? Try it - breathe in through your nose and hum a note with a smile! Get those resonators going!
At other times we notice the small dissonant rumblings and we pivot.
And sometimes we miss the mark, have ignored all the resonant signals, have worn ear plugs, and the prolonged painful dissonance is creating chaos. Perhaps we have already split into "us and them" narratives, we can no longer sense both poles or the rainbow spectrum slinky in between, and it's time for a reckoning.
The waters are not calm, there is a hurricane, and the dock no longer holds. This is entropy, and the time is right for transformation, and even though Leaders didn't necessarily create the storm, they are called to be the calm and quiet "eye" of the storm. That's where I come in as your Leadership coach as that requires immense capacity and resilience. I walk beside you.
Transformation is becoming quite the buzz word these days. I'm hoping it doesn't become like the last one - "innovate" - but don't make a creative mess, take risks, make mistakes or cost us in efficiency or ease or bottom line.. I'm hoping that organizations, individuals and communities invest in recognizing the difference between a transaction, transition and transformation. That's another blog!
Changing form is necessary - it's a part of our common human experience as well as an organization's wellness. It requires creative uncertainty, a lot of courage and compassion. That's where I come in as your Leadership coach.
Here's my tip - if you want to know where you and the organization are on the spectrum in between the poles, look at the finances. That's where values are lived.
It's pretty polarized (i.e., no rainbow spectrum slinky, no transformation possible) if what the Leaders feel the workers are worth does not come from a place of shared humanity. The dissonance of what the perceived value is, and what story that is willingly told to keep it that way, is deafening. If de-humanizing narratives come into play ("they're so greedy" etc etc) without Leaders "coaching" a pivot, the split and polarization is going to happen.
The unsettling truth is that there may be temporary relief to the dissonance with a polarizing narrative and split. Our mind eases up as it has found a sequence and pattern, a reason! There is someone to blame and we off load our dissonance. We can exit the triangulation, phew. However, the cost is that we also exit the relationship.
Leading through the resonance of triangulation, rocky relationships, narratives starting to set, requires immense capacity and resilience. That's where I come in. If the narratives are set already, it usually takes suffering to break them apart. The organizational systems will need to be transformed and re-structured. That's when an Organizational Health Assessment is necessary - I have a great referral for that work!
If Leaders have the courage and capacity to recognize these resonant signals, that visionary will be able to cultivate a team to lead a cultural transformation in service of an Anti-Racist, Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive Community.
That's where I come in as a Leadership coach. An accountability plan will be created and adapted as needs be. You will commit to the work, I walk beside you, nudging and nurturing.