Project Change got off to a great start, with four Friday meetings during the month of September to get everyone into the AmeriCorps groove. The highlight was our trip to Camp Letts, on a beautiful day where the team braved the dreaded zip wire in the morning and lazily canoed the river in the afternoon, and concluded with a camp fire and stories. Thanks to our guides Meredith and Richelle and a big shout out to the Supervisors and staff from our partner sites who joined us in a fun day.
October is a special month of guest trainings which begin on October 9th with Master Coach Lynne Feingold introducing the formal practice of Peer to Peer Group Coaching. The team have already started this activitity with the Bells and Whistles check-in time that starts every meeting. If a member has a challenge and they want more feedback, they request time from the group to have a conversation. During that time, the group acts as a coaching team, and asks questions to unfold the situation, then deeper questions to expose the assumptions behind the dilemma, and then to help the person come up with a positive plan of action that they are willing to hold themselves accountable for at the next meeting.
This is the special practice that grew out of last years team, and something that members enjoyed and learned to practice as a life skill that could be applied to other areas of their work.
Sometimes we get so enmeshed in our own problems, we lose sight of the wider possibilities that a discerning listener can help us tease out. The process is not meant to be about giving advice, or replace therapy. Rather the process is meant to help a person listen to more deeply to what they are intending underneath what they are saying. The one critical axiom for group coaching is, except in exceptions, never to to ask Why. Why? Because Why is a question that invites people to get more into their head, rather then laying out the situation for others to observe. Why invites interpretation when what coaching asks for is observation.