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What's in the box?

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

An Introduction to Conscious Leadership - What's in the box?

I met Karim Hirani (BTS Coach) around 12 months ago, when I first started my role as Director of Knowledge Exchange with the EMCC UK. In our first meeting I was struct by Karim’s quiet, thoughtful, and so very present approach to our conversation. I left the first meeting as though I had been in therapy, yet we had clearly focused on strategy throughout. He talked about conscious leadership, a subject that I had read around over the years, so I had some knowledge. However, I was slightly short of where I would like to be to hold a conversation with anyone, let alone Karim. Karim suggested Conscious Leadership as something we might introduce to our members at EMCC UK and my clients, “count me in!”. Over the last year I have read books (Karim and Jerry’s specifically), research articles and watched countless YouTube clips. This short piece walks you through my learning journey to give you an insight into my Conscious Leadership travels and invites you to take your own.

2020 has been somewhat of a year to say the least; many of us have struggled and triumphed throughout. Conscious Leadership offers us a choice in how we show up and this choice determines how we feel about the outcome we are faced with and in some cases adds into or determines the outcome. Watching, The Conscious Leadership Group on YouTube was my starting point, click the link below to take you to their You Tube channel (The Conscious Leadership Group, 2015).

Where am I? indeed where am I? this question was the first one I was presented with and I immediately began to ask myself this question through a number of lenses. Knowing I like to wrestle with a questions in my map of the world before I invite any client to wrestle with theirs, I explored this question through the lens of family, work, volunteering and friendship. This broke down into a simple idea for me and in the words of my dear friend Auriel Majumdar, ‘am I still playing in the puddles?’ or am I sat on the windowsill looking outside at the other kids, wishing? As it turns out I am above the line through many lenses, splashing in muddy puddles, in bright yellow wellies. Though I have to say in some areas I felt close to tipping point and recognised this is a piece of deep and deliberate practice I will need to give some thought and time to (The Conscious Leadership Group, 2015).


“‘am I still playing in the puddles?’ or am I sat on the windowsill looking outside at the other kids wishing? As it turns out I am above the line through many lenses, splashing in muddy puddles in bright yellow wellies.”

Ward (2016) describes conscious leadership as a way of ‘conducting responsibilities’ as a leader. Suggesting leaders choose how they go about their interactions and business, the practiced craft of conscious leadership. Working consciously, we can see how this would bring wonderful rewards in terms of personal, socially, and economic return. Ward (2016) describes conscious leadership as a combination of science and art where the delivery of organisational outcomes is entwined with the human experience and therefore symbiotic. If we are to move towards the ultimate good, people and business outcomes might benefit from being viewed as mutually beneficial (Ward, 2016, Vol 104).

Change is inevitable, nothing stays the same, life, work, family, friendships are not static. They are like the earth ever revolving and evolving. Rapid change is a symptom of modern society, or so we are told. It is faster, more complex, more ambiguous. Anderson and Anderson states “Change is happening everywhere; its speed and complexity are increasing; and the future success of our organizations depends on how successful leaders are at leading that change. In today's marketplace, change is a requirement for continued success, and competent change leadership is a most coveted executive skill (Anderson & Anderson, 2010)”. Is it? Is it really? Or is this a story we tell ourselves? Thus, increasing our suffering and depleting our ability to cope. Anderson and Anderson (2010) also tell the story of the benefits of conscious leadership and adopting mindful approaches to work with people and business in this VUCA environment, thus reducing suffering and building emotional capacity.

The 4 Greatest Coaching Conversations (Conner & Hirani, 2019) provides an alternative approach to developing our consciousness: BRIT – Be, Relate, Inspire, Think. Be, as in being, the conscious self, was my first chapter. I enjoyed the part where Conner and Hirani (2019) described two conversations one ‘in the box’ and one ‘out of the box’. In the box (below the line) the coachee might describe feelings of boredom, frustration, anxiety etc; out of the box (above the line) the coachee might describe feelings of energy, confidence, or clarity. A box rather than a line. I explored this metaphor and reflected on coaching conversation with my clients both in and out of the box. What works for me, the box or the line? in truth BOTH!

My final thoughts are how I might use this learning to support and enable clients. One metaphor I often use, is that of a shelf with boxes on it. The shelf holds the story (the line), with boxes full of content, some tightly sealed, some open and bursting, some barren and broken, some so heavy the shelf is wobbling. As I wonder, I ask is the shelf a metaphor for ‘the line’ and the boxes contain what brings us life, energy, and joy and what depletes us. I guess the question and the beautiful challenge is – where is the shelf? How and where do we hold our shelf? And what work do we do when a box happens to fall? What are our tightly sealed boxes and what boxes are as light as a feather filled with joy? – So, I invite you to look into conscious leadership and let me know what you learn.

Go out, get your wellies on and play.

Conner, J., & Hirani, K. (2019). The 4 Greatest Coaching Conversations. London: Nicholas Brearley Publishing.


The 4 Greatest Coaching Conversations (Conner & Hirani, 2019) provides an alternative approach to developing our consciousness: BRIT – Be, Relate, Inspire, Think. Be, as in being, the conscious self, was my first chapter. I enjoyed the part where Conner and Hirani (2019) described two conversations one ‘in the box’ and one ‘out of the box’. In the box (below the line) the coachee might describe feelings of boredom, frustration, anxiety etc; out of the box (above the line) the coachee might describe feelings of energy, confidence, or clarity. A box rather than a line. I explored this metaphor and reflected on coaching conversation with my clients both in and out of the box. What works for me, the box or the line? in truth BOTH!

My final thoughts are how I might use this learning to support and enable clients. One metaphor I often use, is that of a shelf with boxes on it. The shelf holds the story (the line), with boxes full of content, some tightly sealed, some open and bursting, some barren and broken, some so heavy the shelf is wobbling. As I wonder, I ask is the shelf a metaphor for ‘the line’ and the boxes contain what brings us life, energy, and joy and what depletes us. I guess the question and the beautiful challenge is – where is the shelf? How and where do we hold our shelf? And what work do we do when a box happens to fall? What are our tightly sealed boxes and what boxes are as light as a feather filled with joy? – So, I invite you to look into conscious leadership and let me know what you learn.

Go out, get your wellies on and go play.



References

Anderson, L. A., & Anderson, D. (2010). Beyond Change Management: How to Achieve Breakthrough Results Through Conscious Change Leadership. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Conner, J., & Hirani, K. (2019). The 4 Greatest Coaching Conversations. London: Nicholas Brearley Publishing.

The Conscious Leadership Group. (2015, November 15). Locating Yourself, A Key To Conscious Leadership. Retrieved from You Tubue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLqzYDZAqCI

Ward, S. (2016, Vol 104). The Art and Science of Conscious Leadership. Aorn Journal, 383-385.You’ll be posting loads of engaging content, so be sure to keep your blog organized with Categories that also allow visitors to explore more of what interests them.


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