I coach executives and leaders, as well as consult with organizations. This can take many forms. Here are a few.
Sometimes leaders come to me because they have a conflict with someone else in the organization. While it is often advisable to work it out with the person directly, it can also be helpful to work on that relationship issue internally. This may take the form of identifying the disturbing quality in the other person, and noticing how it is – or could be – in us as well. This does not mean being lazy or pushy or however we perceive the other person to be. But using the diamond essence of that disturbing quality (e.g., calmness or directness), can increase our personal power in that relationship. This is what martial artists call using our opponents’ energy against them. (See Arnold Mindell’s Leader As Martial Artist.)
I’ve found that Process Work’s unique lens allows me to analyze complex team and organizational issues in order to see the patterns in the background. This helps leaders and executives not just react to scattered events and personalities, but instead have an overview of larger dynamics that can be worked with systemically.
We all have our own personal limitations and belief systems that may compromise our effectiveness at work. They may get in the way of our own advancement or the success of the organization. Process Work helps us discover hidden personal power that lies beyond our limitations. Sometimes the things we (or others) see as problems are actually signs of our potential personal power; they are just coming out in disturbing ways because either we are unaware of them or we reject them for various reasons. Process Work’s precise tools help us unfold these problems in order to discover our hidden capacities so we can utilize them in our organizations.
In all kinds of organizations and teams, applying a Process Work lens can give new insight and direction when things may have gotten stuck.
Process Work helps us to remember that the very issue the organization works with (e.g., power and control in a domestic violence agency) may appear within the organization itself. It can be helpful to identify and work with these issues directly. Because everyone is already bought into the idea (e.g., that power and control can be hurtful), they may be open to exploring how the issue shows up in their dynamics. On the other hand, it is human nature to see the problem as only “out there,” and to not notice how we ourselves might contribute to the dynamic. A skilled facilitator can help the organization or team to unfold this so it is useful for everyone.
Non-profits may ask for help with the relationship between founders and executive directors. I’ve found that this often involves issues of rank, communication dynamics, style differences, and the importance of both history and change. The relationship between board and staff often incudes issues of power and decision-making, insider/outsider dynamics, and a need for appreciation for different kinds of work and responsibilities.
Another important Process Work principle is getting in touch with the essence of an organization. Often this essence can be found right there on an organization’s website, in the vision and mission statements. Process Work helps organizations get back in touch with their vision. The vision and mission are important for the organization’s work in the world, and equally important within the organization. It is refreshing and enlivening for an organization to live its essence more congruently.
In order to do that, a facilitator needs to value both the consensus reality of the organization, and notice the dreamlike aspects of what is happening. Let’s imagine, for example, that we are an organization that takes care of the environment. Yes, let’s be stewards of the outer environment, and work for sustainability in the “real” world. At the same time, let’s explore how to take care of the space between us, the atmosphere we breathe in our organization. How can we create a sustainable way to work that takes care of the inner environment of our organization, and the inner environment of our workers? When we are able to do all of that, then we are deeply living our vision, and connected to the essence of our organization.
I work with non-profits and for profit corporations; facilitate teams and executive director / founder relationships; and coach executives in organizations as well as leaders of companies.