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Co-creating with and through others: our coaching circles

This blog post is part of the P&I series where we share our personal and professional journeys and how they link to a re-thinking of P&I and its purpose. 

After going through a set of methods and deep conversations to delve into our thinking, feeling and creativity around how P&I could evolve, we felt it was time to open our process to a trusted circle of friends and colleagues. Our intention was to tap into collective intelligence and be able to listen how our evolution resonates with others. To that end, we decided to hold two Coaching Circles, which are interactive and horizontal meetings where all participants can act as coaches to each other by creating a trusting environment. 

The goals of these meetings were: to check in with all participants where we are and how we are dealing with the COVID context (personally and/or organisationally), share P&I’s process to re-create ourselves (why and how) and gather insights from the collective intelligence about where opportunities to do things differently reside. The conversation was be confidential and the hope is that everyone leaves the space inspired and renewed.

We counted with the participation of fifteen colleagues in the circles who kindly shared their insights and ideas. We described our path and also what the new approach we propose is like. Then we showed them two series of images to gather feedback. By using images, we sought to call in their body and emotional reactions and the use of more symbolic responses. They were asked to select one or more that represented what our new approach generated within them and why, and one or two that depicted the external scenario we might meet with our change process, and why.  

Through very rich and profound conversations and individual contributions we discovered some emerging patterns that we want to incorporate in the next stages of our process: 1) delve deeper into the WHY we want to do what we want to do, 2) the need to land our ideas in a specific topic/geographic area/specific population (more focus), 3) incorporate others who are not like-minded and the fact that we are developing our proposal in a still very competitive and politics-led environment, 4) the richness of integrating this process with our personal lives and how this could inspire/be a marker for many others, 5) how to manage the tension between technocratic and softer/emotional approaches, 6) increase our reach and focus on people: listen more to those we want to serve. 

Overall, the energy was high and enthusiastic, with some alerts and doubts having their place as well. We are deeply thankful to those colleagues who gifted us with their presence and deep sources. We also received several expressions of their appreciation of the space we created that led to honest, deep and calm interactions. Thus, we have decided to extend this practice of holding spaces to share not only ours but others’ challenges too with more colleagues: P&I is now inviting anyone interested in joining us in monthly Coaching Circles, learn more about them here! 

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