Over the next few months, I will share philosophical and practical insights on facilitation and coaching, perhaps tips for being a super collaborator and of course my journey through Round Sky Solutions’ Level 1 Certification. For now though, I would like to set the scene and introduce my primary client and probably the longest lasting (and therefore the one I know best): me.

Who am I? A daunting question and an exploratory process that is often at the heart of the hardships experienced by both individuals and organisations. Thus, the difficulty of this first publication goes beyond the dilemma of the blank page. Defining myself by where I am from, my job title or where I live (the usual expected answers) has never given me the satisfaction of feeling at home in myself. As I engage with colleagues, friends and fellow practitioners, I find that I am not the only one to increasingly find this kind of definition very limiting. Instead, it is specifically the diversity of my being, my purpose and my talent or calling that give this ‘me’ countenance.

 

Let’s dwell on this idea of calling for a second, shall we? My current understanding of it is the channel through which one is able to best express themselves and contribute to this world in a meaningful way. Ideally, it would be your job, since this is what most of us spend the majority of our productive time doing. And if not, then perhaps we should ask ourselves why.

Of course, we are often surrounded by constraints. I, for my part, experienced many jobs and work environments that did little to motivate me in the morning, or any time of the day as a matter of fact. You know, the kind of job that makes you feel like you are putting all of your amazing creativity and skills in a tiny little box and throwing it in the no-man’s land of your routine existence. Thanks to those jobs though, similarly to a tumultuous love affair, I was able to discover what I did not want and eventually what I did want (hey, did you also notice how we often identify the positive in opposition to the negative?). Now, I am going to say something perhaps a little presumptuous but that has never failed me, nor any of my experiences related to other people: your life is your choice.

If not (yet) your reality, I would invite anyone to at least consider this a possible mindset, a goal – as very often, the barriers we see surrounding us are in fact the barriers we built inside our heads. And as we all know by now, partly thanks to the endeavour of spiritual gurus and fashionable meditation apps, walls are generally the result of fear. Fear is our own and we can overcome it. In other words, as a wise friend of mine put it, being you is about being true to yourself (especially in difficult situations). When you are truly comfortable with yourself, you will be able to be happy whatever comes at you, have good relationships, do your work well… Basics.

 

The same goes with the collective of an organisation. Of course it is not easy – a continuous dialogue and tension moving process – to find the right balance between the organisation as a collective and the individuals within them. Dialogue in general i.e. (healthy) bi-/multi-lateral communication, is in itself difficult to achieve. Yet, it is the most basic and often overlooked dimension of our existence. In retrospective, it may be because dialogue had for a long time been absent in my personal life that I started looking into facilitation and coaching. Indeed, my own struggles lead me to explore countless tools and methods including in meditation, shadow work, non-violent communication, active listening, pedagogy etc… and the cheesiest but truest of all: loving communication – which embraces all of the above and more. And today, although I still feel that coaching encapsulates various complex meanings, I would explain it as the easing of the emergence or improvement of favourable spaces for people/organisation’s calling to unfold in a way that is right for them.

It is with this mindset that I thrive to go through my personal and professional life. And it is with this mindset that I randomly stumbled across the Collab 101 course, the prerequisites to Level 1, as I was searching for learning opportunities on collaboration and communication. Collab is a communication operational framework that can be used for facilitation and which principles can also be applied to any other context. My experience of Collab is that it provides a structure that helps create a space where participants can more easily:

  • Engage with each other with awareness
  • Engage in reflective practice so that information is better processed internally and better expressed outwardly
  • Focus their energy on the core issue without having to worry about satellite details (that we all love getting caught in all the time)
  • Have a frame within which their freedom can be fully exerted (more on this contradiction later).

It is also a meta-frame… (but we can also see that in other publications).

Linking back to talent, it is not just about knowing a bunch of cool tools. It is also about this extra quality that is a combination of, among others, mindset (as mentioned above), emotional intelligence, a developed sixth sense, the ability to see the right things at the right moment (which requires constantly taking a step back), knowing when and to what extent to intervene, the ‘engaged detachment’ allowing the person in front of you to take their destiny in their own hands (not you doing it for them). Part of it is a natural given, the other part is knowledge that can be shared and comes with experience. I am very excited about my upcoming journey with the coaches at Round Sky Solutions and the Level 1 Certification which I hope will help me develop and sharpen this extra quality.

But going back to the initial question: who am I? Well… if I have to define myself in one word, I would say: I am wind – nomadic, a citizen of the world, constantly free flowing. Coaching helps me channel all this energy in my core, turning the wind into a temperate breeze that blows my sails in the right direction and at the right speed.

This has been written and narrated by Atikah Lorot:

Globetrotter. Violinist. Salsa dancer. Climber. Tea-lover. Boundary-challenger. Change-explorer. Confidence-builder. Supporter of your organisational journey.

This publication is part of a series written in the framework of a partnership project “Atikah’s Collaborative Leadership Journey” between the author and Round Sky Solutions and in tandem with the author’s participation in the Level 1 Certification course in Collaborative Leadership.

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