Looking for more than formulaic coaching? Try a “useful conversation”

Sometimes the only place to be is right here and now Coaching should be about much more than just setting goals to be achieved in the future. Important as this can be, it just doesn’t cut it for many professionals I work with. They are looking for something more meaningful, more immediate and more generally[…]

What is Personal Development? – Revisited

Personal Development is hugely popular and an important focus for many people. However, I rarely see anyone stop to think about what it actually is. Nor do I hear people ask what its potential benefits might be beyond the vagueness of “to achieve my potential” or more pragmatic outcomes such as “to get that promotion”.[…]

Time to rethink ‘systems thinking’

This post explores the limitations of systems thinking when referring to groups of people or whole organisations. It argues that differentiation is needed between the complicated and the complex and that, in the absence of this, the universal application of a system metaphor is propping up outmoded and unhealthy approaches to management within organisations. The[…]

Obsessed with change – what about tradition and stability?

I recently attended a conference at which Ralph Stacey, a renowned professor in the field of complexity, said something that resonated with me. He said that “we have become obsessed with change.” He went to say that “this is nonsensical. We also need tradition and stability”. I’ve recently become acutely aware of how much pressure[…]

Schein’s ‘Humble Inquiry’ – Old Ideas Rehashed. Thank Goodness!

After reading Edgar Schein’s latest book (Humble Inquiry, The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling), I was initially dismissive: ‘These are old ideas rehashed’. I was able to skim-read the book in less than 30 minutes and didn’t feel the need to deep-dive into any sections. This is usually a sign the material is[…]

Is your thinking ‘black or white’? Should it be shades of green?

I was recently watching a BBC current affairs programme during which Jeremy Paxman, a somewhat cantankerous British journalist, hosted a healthy, challenging debate about the English Lake District National Park. This debate was of particular interest to me. The Lake District is a place of significant spiritual meaning to me. From an early age, I’ve[…]

Culture Change – Time To Throw Away The Carrot And Stick

This post explores alternatives to the behaviourist-informed practices that currently hold sway as many organisations attempt to change their cultures. After writing about Gestalt as an approach to personal development, I’ve also been reflecting on how it offers solutions to the challenges facing many of our organisations. Flowing from what seems to be an endless trail of[…]