Lesson 2: Personal Development
Building your Skills as a Facilitative Leader

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Goals for this Lesson

  • Gain an understanding of what personal development is and why it’s essential to collaborative work in organizations and teams.
  • Learn several key frameworks and tools for self awareness, understanding and growth that will support you in becoming a more compassionate, creative, and effective team member

Learning Activities

  1. Review Collab™ Cards for Personal Development on pages 38-39, 47, 65, 94-101 in the Instructional. Ponder the question “Where have I received some feedback from my environment that indicates a place for possible growth?
  2. Watch the Lesson 2 training video (below).
  3. Read pages 138-141 in the Instructional. These are some outputs you might see come out of a Personal Development meeting.
  4. Check out the supplemental materials (below).

Training Video

*Click the full screen arrows on the bottom right corner of the video to enter full screen. 


Tips and Tricks

  • After reviewing the Collab™ Cards for Personal Development on pages 38-39, 47, 65, 94-101, try to identify your own “topic” for your own personal development. Share your topic with us in the forum! Perhaps this is related to your growth as a facilitator.
  • Next time you’re heading into a meeting, take a full minute to close your eyes, get centered within your body, your role in the meeting, and the knowledge you have about the current strategy of your group. Take note of how this simple exercise of being centered affects your (and possibly others) experience within the meeting. Bring your experience to a live call to discuss.
  • Reviewing the Interpersonal Tension Clearing process at this time might be helpful (pages 36-37, 46, 65, 92-93 in the Instructional). We don’t go into the details of the Interpersonal in this training, but we do consider it to be an essential piece for successful teamwork (and we talk a little bit more about it in lesson 8). Ponder the question “What might I or my team need in terms of Personal Development in order to be comfortable taking on a practice like this?” and reach out to us with any questions about how it take it on. For more information on the Interpersonal processes, please check out our Interpersonal blog post.


Respond to the following prompts:

How has investing time and understanding in your own personal development journey changed things for you in your work and life? What are your own practices for mindfulness and presence while facilitating?

**Do you have some thoughts about how we can improve the course? Give us feedback here!



  1. Terry

    The short answer is I have grown because of my interest and participation in self development. I am a “life long learner” which definitely has helped me in my cognitive personal development but there are other lines of personal development as well.Working at increasing my being comfortable with more and more perspectives has made me grow in emotional, psychological, and spiritual self development and of course when you grow in one area it helps the others to grow as well. I would have to say being more conscious of my breath in the moment, meditation and releasing somatic tensions help me the most in presence and facilitating.

  2. Mindy

    As I returned to the professional arena after a long absence, it was difficult for me to set and observe boundaries. I had difficulties setting aside family issues during work hours and likewise, work thoughts occupied my mind during family time. The challenge was exacerbated by the fact that my work grew out of issues that I am passionate about.
    My personal development goals relate to how to balance work/family issues while remaining present and passionate about work.
    I have set hours that I can attend to work and hours that I will not. This includes not checking emails or phone messages in the evenings or weekends. I have been more successful at maintaining work/family balance since incorporating that tactic. It is actually something new for me. For 15 years as a primary parent, I was able to adjust my day at a moments notice and reprioritize my tasks since it all revolved around one realm- the family.
    I also trimmed my volunteer commitments through an active reflection process of how I can best serve my community and derive personal satisfaction simultaneously. Although, I do need to do another round of trimming as there have been so many “calls to action” recently.
    I think I will create a decision model or flow chart for use when presented with new volunteer activities or “calls to actin” to see if they fit with my goals and lifestyle. Then I will need to commit to utilizing this technology when confronted by an opportunity. I will also need to commit to not saying yes immediately and have a few prepared responses to requests such as “I will check my calendar and get back to you”, “l am intrigued, let me think it over”…

    • Cecile Green

      Hey Mindy, sounds like you’ve used your personal development to develop a clear process and methodology for yourself to stay aligned with your priorities, and to be able to revisit your priorities as needed. That is wonderful! I’m curious what you use for a task tracking system?

  3. Anna

    When I practice somatically through deep breathing, meditation, or other exercises that slow me down, I find much more awareness and understanding of what I’m experiencing, as well as what others might be experiencing and needing. It helps me prioritize, listen intently, digest information and processes, and think through things.

    Investing in my personal development also has a way of broadening my focus, so I’m more aware not just of my own tasks and projects, but how what I’m learning and the ways I’m growing can help others with their work and leadership. For example, taking this course is helping me better understand our team dynamics, things we’re already doing that are healthy and along the lines of what is presented here, and ways that we can further improve our collaboration. This course gives me the tools directly, which I can then share with our team, see how they resonate, and tweak for our use based on feedback. I think adaptive leaders are doing this kind of thing all the time – learning, bringing it to their teams, tweaking it, and using it together.

    I certainly feel I’ve gained leadership confidence because of the personal development work I’ve done. Whether it specifically has to do with being a better leader or being more confident, or more broadly has to do with skill building or knowing I’m valued, all of those things contribute to confidence in my place in the organization and as a leader with an important voice in the world.

    My practices for mindfulness and presence while facilitating include a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting (standard practice in my organization’s meetings); taking a bit of time ahead of the meeting to prepare when I have an agenda item, update, or governance item; sensing into what others are feeling during the meeting, and subsequently checking in with them as to the order of things or whether a tension has been cared for enough in order to move on; deep breathing during tense moments; and taking good notes for myself in order to come back and review and digest more later.

    • Rebecca Fisher McGinty

      Hi Anna,
      Wow, thanks so much for sharing all of that. Isn’t it amazing that something as simple as breath and awareness about what’s happening in the body can help us to prioritize and incorporate feedback to be stronger and more adaptive leaders?! We find ourselves taking a collective moment of silence during our meetings from time to time to sense what is needed and to get grounded. These are great and simple practices! I’d love to hear more about the ways you’re bringing this back to your team!

  4. Jeanette

    One tension I am experiencing is feeling out of the loop regarding the educational programming in our office. I am the education coordinator and I think my role is to maintain high quality programming in our organization. Right now it feels like no one/ everyone is responsible for this and this makes me uncomfortable. One because I feel like my role and expertise are not appreciated/accepted by my colleagues (and I start to feel like I maybe don’t know what my job is) and two, because I worry that the educational output will be less good than it could be if I don’t take a look at it. I also feel responsible for the programming that we create, so I want to prevent difficulties if I can. This kinda sounds like I want to micromanage the projects. I don’t want to do this, nor do I have the time to, but right now I haven’t seen enough good work from my coworkers to trust them to create good quality work without my supervision. I believe that will change in time.

    I recently spoke with my supervisor about this. He doesn’t have a good solution to this right now, but he does hear me. One thing I think I can do is be more proactive about getting involved. I can set clearer boundaries with my colleagues about what needs to happen for me to feel comfortable, and I can initiate more casual conversations with folks about the work they are doing. I think it is up to me to determine what those boundaries are. 🙂

    • cecilemgreen

      Hey Jeanie! Thanks for sharing this example and it does sound important to address. I recommend that you take your role of ‘education coordinator’ through a role generation process with your team. This would enable you to gather everyone’s input on your role and authority, get it clearly written down, and consented to by your team. One of the results will be that everyone will be on the same page with you regarding your boundaries as opposed to you having to ‘set’ those boundaries and continually remind people what they are. I highly recommend, if you do take this advice, that you use Integrative Consent for the process to get your role clear. Also you can get more information on role generation in Lesson 6.

    • Daniel Little

      Hey Jeanie, great to hear about your conundrum. It does sound like it would be implicit in your job description that you would be responsible for the quality of the programing, but it’s not so explicit. So in Collab terms the Governance part of this would be to get more clear about your authority to do that job, having it be murky makes it harder for everyone. On the personal development front, it also sound like you’re on the right track. I’d ask questions like, “How can I be more clear and explicit about what I think is needed to improve quality?” and following from that, “How do I hold back from expressing that clarity?” and then, “What’s at risk for me if I were to be more clear or ask for what I need? Getting a handle on what’s the worry or concern you have that makes it hard to make the changes you want is so key as part of actually being able to do it with any sustainability over time.

    • Anne S

      at present, I am isolated. I am prone to rushing. I notice that increasingly I use the time while on buses taking me to and from appointments as an opportunity to breathe and let my breathing re-set. About 6 years ago I encountered a script for progressive muscle relaxation and using it changed my life. .I see each of these as self facilitation on behalf of self and others.

  5. Jeanette

    Investing time in my personal development is key. Whenever I am able to change my own attitudes and strategies, things change dramatically elsewhere. It is hard, and I sometimes need another person to help me see my shortcomings, but once I have awareness of what I am doing, I can work to change it, and that changes everything. When I start to feel grumpy all over, bringing in a meditation practice helps a lot. Taking the time to give myself positive encouragement, and acknowledging my accomplishments helps a lot. These allow me to feel confident and strong in myself, so I can listen more openly to others and act more lovingly toward them. They also make it easier to have the tough conversations I need to gain clarity or to share my side of the story.

    When facilitating, I drop into the thrill of not knowing what is going to happen, and that helps free me up to listen and make spontaneous connections.

  6. cecilemgreen

    In response to the forum prompt above “How has investing time and understanding in your own personal development journey changed things for you in your work and life? What are your own practices for mindfulness and presence while facilitating?”: Developing myself has been a lifelong journey which has had a profound impact on my ability to lead, especially to lead collaboratively. Firstly, once I had the basics of Collab, leading collaboratively allowed what I knew intuitively to become reality in the groups I was a part of which was a huge relief. This also allowed me to relax into the process of seeking perspectives because I could trust that the process used properly would not allow historically dominating perspectives to run the show. So my primary practice while facilitating is to rely on the structure that Collab provides which frees up my creativity and enables me to also participate more fluidly. In addition, I pay attention to what is going on in my body and use that to inform my choices as a facilitator, like which tension should I pick next? For example, if there’s an interpersonal tension impacting the quality of the communication, I will notice and choose to address that tension before moving to other types of tensions.

    • Jeanette

      Cecile, I like this strategy of addressing interpersonal tensions first. These tensions usually need to be addressed (if not resolved) before the good work an happen. In reading through the materials this week I’m finding it hard to imagine addressing this interpersonal stuff with our staff. I do a little of this with my boss, because I know I need to address this stuff to be able to work and experience growth (I also do it because I want to develop a greater level of trust an intimacy with him, I hope this works eventually!), but I’m not sure everyone else in the office needs this too. I’m interested in how a group of coworkers get to the point where they can set personal development goals together and where they share feedback with each other about it (about anything really!) Are there inch pebbles for getting there as a group?

  7. Andrew

    Hi. I wanted to share that I won’t be able to join the Live Call on the 23rd. I am enjoying – and using – some of the practices I’m learning about in Collab 101. The Agenda Building/Processing from the Standard meeting practice has already been helpful in distributing power more evenly through my Project Team. In some ways I would say the most valuable insight is that there is a tremendous benefit to focusing intentionally on our meeting processes – and not simply on the topics at hand. It’s easy to write down all the things that we want to address, but if we don’t have a way to address them collaboratively, where are people are valued, it’s so easy to get into bad patterns. I hope the Live Call is productive tomorrow and I hope to join subsequent calls.

    • cecilemgreen

      Hello and welcome to the course Andrew! We did have a productive call on 2/23 and will have another on 3/8 that we hope you can join us for. I’m glad to hear you’ve found value in the Agenda Building and Processing for your team! One of the most powerful insights I believe I had in the process of creating Collab was the effect of good clear process on how we communicate. It’s so easy to overlook and it can feel like magic when we begin to leverage it. Glad you are finding it useful. Please reach out with any other questions and we look forward to seeing you on 3/8.

  8. Linda

    Good morning! I’m Linda. I live near New Orleans, Louisiana, and belong to the same self-organizing group in which Rebecca participates. In fact, I learned about the Collab courses through her, and I am so thankful. I’ve reviewed the first four lessons and the scope of the information Round Sky is sharing with us is truly amazing. Thank you so much.

    My personal development goal at the present time is to carry my ardent Buddhist practice into the field of political activism.

    Not surprisingly, I experience tremendous tension between, on the one hand, my solitary, clear-sighted contemplative life, and on the other hand, my desire to communicate with and learn how to (modestly) influence how people –and other beings, up to and including mice!–share this chaotic world peacefully together.

    I view this tension between Buddhism and activism as something to dive into rather than avoid.

    I am sharing my thoughts in snippets between sessions of cleaning the bathrooms at my workplace. I am a $13.00 per hour legal secretary for a small, hierarchical law firm in one of the reddest districts in Louisiana. My U.S. Congressional Representative is Steve Scalise, who announced to his constituency yesterday that he really believes an immigrant “ban” is good for our country. Most of my neighbors voted as if they agree.

    My employer expressed sadness the other day that, he guesses the only way to stop sexual abuse of children is to put the victims to death before they have a chance to re-enact it on the next generation.

    I don’t have great expectations of transforming my workplace or voting district in this lifetime! However, it is important to me that I try as hard as I can to make a difference even in the face of repeated mistakes, failures, and defeats. There is no way to tell which small acts we engage in now may bear rich fruit in the future.

    I am not a neophyte in the realm of academic discourse. At one time I was a Ph.D. student in Sociology at Harvard University. Ill health and disenchantment with university dominance structures took me off that life course fairly early in life.

    I still love learning and appreciate the intellectual beauty as well as the practical benefit of what we are studying together. Thanks to everyone, I look forward to getting to know you.

    • Rebecca Fisher McGinty

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you so much for this thoughtful response and for giving us/me a look into your life. I think diving into the tension between Buddhism and activism is so important. I keep coming back to something I’ve learned from the folks at the People’s Institute (here, in New Orleans) that there are no throw-away people. It’s easier to dispose of those I seem hateful and have a serious (and detrimental) lack of empathy. It’s so humanizing to believe that no one is disposable.. no matter what.
      Looking forward to continuing to learn from you!

    • cecilemgreen

      Hello Linda and welcome to Collab 101! Thank you so much for your introduction, I resonate with your commitment to merge your contemplative practice with your activism and live them as one and the same. Deep bows and appreciations, for it takes courage, resilience and determination of the finest kind to survive the caustic environment in which you find yourself. I am glad you have joined us in this course and I hope it gives you tools for your good fight. Thank you for your service.


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