A Sense of Place -Coaching in Context

 

 

Granite. A glittering, resilient rock. The Barefoot Barn where we hold our Wise Goose Devon training programmes stands upon granite, the house I live in is built from it.  Both overlook the huge granite plug of Dartmoor. Granite is one of the defining characteristics of this place.

 

The moaning, whistling, howling or whispering song of wind is another; it’s usually south westerly – you can tell the direction by the lean of stunted hawthorn and oak. Water is another element of this place, drizzling or pouring, to be soaked up by the spongy ground that is our watershed; as I write the landscape is wrapped in a Dartmoor mizzle. The song of moving water is never far away, sometimes quietly dripping or gurgling, sometimes running off the tors in amber torrents, nudging the granite clitter downslope into streams which run away to meet the sea at Teignmouth.

‘Granite Song’, a sculpture by Peter Randall-Page, rests unlabelled, a secret waiting to be chanced upon, on a small island on the river Teign.  At first glance this egg-like boulder of granite is like many others along the river. Embedded in the landscape, it could have been tossed there by the river. But it has been split in two like a walnut, revealing carved organic, labyrinthine patterns. The sculptor has taken granite and made it a living part of a tradition of the moors with its standing stones, reaves and hut circles knitting together a relationship and resonance between the people of this place and time and the land.  In this simple sculpture there’s a sense of embeddedness, a vision of reciprocity, participation and belonging; a sense of place.

Here at Wise Goose we believe place matters in coaching, it can shape, inform and sustain us, place is both geographical terrain and a terrain of consciousness.   That’s why, whether in the wilds of the countryside or the midst of the capital city, we do our best to work from training venues where we have a relationship, that can provide opportunities for you to reflect and renew, connect with context and draw out a networked perspective.  Most professional development courses are held in rootless, sterile and bland conference centres. Even those in mansions set in pristine landscaped gardens often create a disconnect between actions taken  and the wider context of work –  they don’t nurture a sense of place.

Place can inspire a systemic, networked, holistic approach to coaching that places human persons, organisations and communities as part of their world, co-creating their world, in service to a vision of a better future.

Our Space in the City.  Nestled in the midst of King’s Cross Development site at the heart of national and international transport networks, the Skip Garden is a unique and quirky space.   It is a moveable, urban  garden where fruit and vegetables are farmed out of skips and reclaimed construction materials.  An initiative of educational charity Global Generation, built by young people, local business volunteers and families, it is developing a new and sustainable community contributing to ecological and social change.

We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with a charity whose values and approach so closely mirrors our own.  Global Generation brings together businesses, working alongside young people and the local community. Together they experiment with visions of leadership that make a positive difference to themselves and to our future, exploring ways to leave a positive impact on the planet and to grow new ways of connecting and giving back within their organisations and the communities in which they operate.

Amongst the lettuce leaves , blossom trees and open fires are unique indoor spaces, purpose built for all kinds of learning and personal development opportunities.  The venue also boasts a thriving café serving food from the garden.

Our Scottish Collaboration.  It is a real privilege  to be working with the Findhorn Foundation to deliver a residential, intensive Foundations course in Core Coaching and Mentoring Skills in Scotland.  The Findhorn Foundation is an internationally respected ecovillage community and spiritual learning centre dedicated to inspired action and a vision of creating a better world by starting with themselves.

Our programme will be held at The Park, nestled amidst dunes and forest, bay and beach, it is an ecovillage that is home to many of their staff and a larger community of people living with shared values.   This is a collaboration with the Findhorn Foundation College which provides a vehicle for academic programmes and to host students and study groups from the local area and around the world, an induction to the Foundation will be included in the programme.

The Findhorn Foundation is an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, holder of UN Habitat Best Practice designation and is co-founder of the Global Ecovillage Network and Holistic Centres Network.

At the heart of The Foundation is a community of more than 500 people living together and practising spiritual values to create a transformative environment where learning takes place naturally through the ordinary activities of daily life. All are linked by a shared positive vision for humanity and the earth.

The Barefoot Barn is our original venue and ‘home’.  Set in six acres of woodland, glades and ponds with views across the atmospheric and spectacular ancient landscape of Dartmoor.   An ideal location from which to practice outdoor walking coaching and widen perspectives.  The Barn was initially created for the local community of Chagford, 20+ years ago, for the teaching and practice of meditation and yoga and is a few minutes walk from the centre of Chagford  a historic and vibrant town, in an area of outstanding beauty, on the edge of Dartmoor and within easy reach of the M5, Exeter airport and the national railway network.

 

“The present is not a time for desperation but for hopeful activity.”

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I have the quote above from Thomas Berry, scribbled on a post-it on my desk. Some days it brings out a smile and a sense of purpose. Some days it feels like a bad joke. I am a ‘glass half full’ person but as I look at many of the changes currently sweeping through the world my hopefulness for the future can be put to the test.

I’m not alone, the 2017 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER reveals the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. The credibility of leaders has also collapsed globally to an all-time low, with government leaders seen as least credible.

More than half respondents, including elites believe the system is unfair and offers little hope for the future. The result is toxic populism and nationalism fuelled by lack of trust in the system, fear of immigration, globalization, corruption as well as economic fears.

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Questionable Intentions – Intentional Questions 

trafficjamMany thanks to Mark Hunt for this post. Mark had recently finished his first training weekend with Wise Goose where we’d been looking at questions in coaching when he had real life opportunity to put the theory into practice!

Recently, after a visit to Wise Goose, I was travelling back to Exeter along narrow Dartmoor roads. I had an important meeting to get to and had allowed myself a whisker’s breadth of contingency to get there on time. It was mid afternoon and the roads would be quiet. What could possibly go wrong?

All was well until I tried to join the main road. In front of the junction was an enormous articulated lorry and in both directions cars as far as the eye could see. It was clear that the lorry was blocking the road, and my first thought questioned what the driver was thinking of bringing that great metal behemoth down these skinny lanes. And then – I realised it was an agricultural lorry and – tail between my legs – wondered who had more right to be there.

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A Year of Blessings

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As the nights draw in and another year draws to a close, its a natural time to pause and reflect.
I’ve been looking back and asking: Has this year brought me closer to the goals I’d imagined for Wise Goose this time last year? Have we made the most of the opportunities and the gifts that have come my way? Have we been true to our purpose and values?

I must admit I was feeling a bit low when I started, our son is in India on a gap year adventure and won’t be back until Spring, this will be the first Christmas without him. And I was feeling sad about losing a colleague who, for good personal reasons, decided to move on, but I’ll still miss working with her.

And 2016 has been a challenging year in other ways, Brexit and the long term uncertainty it brings and Donald Trump as the next US president is just plain scary!

But the more I reflected, the more I saw that this has been a really good year for Wise Goose. It’s all too easy to lose sight of this in the midst of the day-to-day challenges of life and running of a business.

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Help Others. Help yourself.

helping others

Many thanks to Sarah Dawkins  for this post. Sarah is a graduate of the Wise Goose Advanced Programme and  works as a Confidence Coach here in the South West.

If your confidence stopping you from taking those steps to getting where you want to be in your life or work then confidence coaching is a great opportunity for you to work towards overcoming areas that are being hit by lack of confidence, be it that interview, talking to people or making that speech.

Something has got to change.

That was the thought that had been buzzing around in my head for 2 years before I decided to actually take action with my life; before that, the nagging thought was just something to squirrel away in the back of my mind to revisit when I reached that magical state of having time to think about it.

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From Therapist to Coach

In this month’s post Rachel Jewell,  a Wise Goose student, tells us about her journey from therapist to a coach specialising with working in the field of female empowerment.

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Facilitating Change, one way or another!

 

My passion has always been to facilitate change in others so that they can achieve their chosen outcomes for their lives. The methodology for achieving a successful outcomes has changed over time, however my purpose has remained clear.

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Questions and coaching

In this month’s post Janet Kipling,  a Wise Goose student, tells us how training in coaching is impacting on her work.  Janet began her career as a journalist in newspapers, and as a BBC radio reporter, producer and presenter.  Twelve years ago she jumped the fence to work in public relation. She still does occasional radio presentation work, writing and media training as well as teaching yoga, and came to coaching wanting to develop a decluttering business. 

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Questions, questions

I’ve made a pretty good career out of asking questions. As a newspaper journalist, radio reporter and then presenter, asking the right question to get the headline or soundbite was a key tool of the trade. Thanks Helen and the Wise Goose team for turning this all upside down!

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Taking Time for Down Time

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Sunday morning was definitely on the chilly side, bright and beautiful but with an unmistakable sense that autumn is elbowing summer out of the way.  As the equinox brings shorter days I feel an impulse to turn inwards and take some down time.

But I have to keep busy; I launched a new one year training programme over the weekend and tomorrow I travel to London, where I’ll be in back to back meetings and when I return to the office there’s plenty of admin to catch up with.  The pace of life and work doesn’t recognise that the seasons bring their own change of pace.  There is constant pressure to keep focussed, keep on doing, keep on achieving and attaining and keep the focus is relentlessly “out there”.

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Tackling silent bullying in the workplace

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Have you ever been ignored, rejected or felt slighted by a colleague or a boss? Have you ever given someone the ‘silent treatment’?

 

Silent bullying is common and costly, I know a lovely woman who was so badly shunned by her boss she became depressed, burnt-out and left a career she loved.  I’ve also been a target –  in a  place where I’d felt liked, appreciated and respected. Because of the behaviour of one person, I felt I didn’t  matter, it was like I didn’t exist.  The good news:  it was limited to relatively a small project.

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“A Magnificent Profession” – The future of management?

shutterstock_109645829Management is out of fashion, not many people want to be called a manager, they might want their title to be leader, or entrepreneur, or even coach – but manager?

Executives have been getting bad press for years now, they are thought to lack integrity, a 2008 Gallup poll on honesty and ethics found that 37% rated executives low or very low. Things haven’t improved since then.  Is it possible that the way management is portrayed by ‘leadership’ gurus encourages ethical decline?

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