Bringing the practices of mindfulness and dialogue to leadership conversations

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Embodying dialogue practices programme

This open programme will be of benefit if you want to cultivate:

• more insight into your contribution to, and impact in, conversations;
• increased awareness of factors that ‘hijack’ good intentions; and
• greater capacity to be present to diverse views in your conversations.

No previous experience of dialogue-related work is needed. To get the most from the programme you will undertake fieldwork between sessions, and be open to changing your practice and sharing your learning with the group.

The ‘what’

Dialogue – conversations that support collaboration, transformation, innovation and every other aspect of an imagined better future. It’s the latest ‘must-have’ in a leader’s toolkit. Except that…the tools, such as they are, turn out to be so simple that it’s easy to discount their value. Further, if we see the potentials, it proves deeply challenging to realise them.

For individual leaders, becoming skilful in dialogue practices is similar to changing your golf swing or learning to play a musical instrument: it takes time and dedication. It can be frustrating and often requires heroic levels of persistence and tolerance: new approaches bring unexpected outcomes, some beneficial and some that are testing. It requires a commitment to learn from both triumph and disaster – and this programme supports you in that process.

An entrepreneur and CEO says:

‘The programme is about improving relationships and outcomes using dialogue, but under the surface it challenges deeper models of thinking and behaviour (conscious and unconscious). It raises the question: if you want to embed change in your organisation, how are your conversations going to change?’

The first phase of the programme introduces some essential ingredients for embodying dialogue practices, and is supported by my book, Pause for Breath. In the second phase, we focus on case-work and on applying the practices. We examine the gap between understanding a concept and being able to deploy it, skilfully and consistently, when the chips are down. This phase includes individual coaching between workshops, and places are limited to six.

A Director of HR says:

‘The experience is strengthened and deepened by individual coaching, enabling you to tailor your learning more clearly to your own habits and circumstances.’

There are two options for participating:

1. To gain greater awareness of dialogue and supporting frameworks and practices, you can sign up for the initial three workshops; or
2. To develop your practice in this field, you can enrol for the full programme of six workshops and three telephone coaching sessions.

To talk through which best meets your needs, please contact me to arrange an exploratory call.

The ‘how’

In the three ‘phase 1’ workshops, we’ll look at frameworks that allow us to describe the shape and quality of conversations and to:

• distinguish between dialogue and other forms of conversation; and
• appreciate how embodying dialogue practices enhances all interactions.

In phase 2, we’ll focus on changing practice. Using case-work drawn from the experiences of participants, we’ll explore why conversations don’t always go as we want. In this part of the programme, each participant brings one piece of case-work to the group, to provide real material for reflective practice. Using the shared language of the frameworks introduced in phase 1, we aim to identify recurring patterns, in order to make changes in our practice that apply to all similar interactions, not just the issue under consideration.

A Senior Manager said:

‘I learned as much from other people’s case-work as from my own.’

The programme is unique in two ways. Firstly, we examine how well what we say reflects what we privately hold to be true. Secondly, we explore how the quality of our contribution changes when we’re under pressure. We learn to recover greater presence in these moments so that we listen more skilfully, speak more courageously and inspire good practice in those around us.

The ‘where’ and ‘when’

The workshops take place in central Edinburgh on the following dates:

Phase 1: introducing dialogue practices
Thursday 27 September 2018
Thursday 25 October 2018
Thursday 29 November 2018

Phase 2: applying dialogue practices
Thursday 7 February 2019
Thursday 28 March 2019
Thursday 23 May 2019

‘Phase 2’ is supported by three one-to-one telephone coaching sessions, arranged to suit our diaries.

Discover more

For more detailed information on format, fees and how to reserve a place, please contact me.