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...thoughts and reflections from CSA Faculty, Accredited Supervisors and the Coaching Supervision Community

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  • 27 Dec 2022 9:36 AM | Anonymous

    By CSA Supervisor Amanda RidingsAmanda Ridings

    Prompted by a conversation with Wendy Palmer a few years ago, I’ve been clarifying my understanding of the terms ‘somatic’ and ‘embodied’ and exploring the relationship between them. The words are sometimes used interchangeably – and I’ve blurred the distinctions myself. I’m a Leadership Embodiment (LE) teacher and use LE practices in all my work, but I have occasionally described my approach as somatic to capitalise on the currency of this word in coaching contexts.

    In fact, the words have different meanings – as Wendy pointed out! Both pertain to the body, but they have distinguishing characteristics. Further, as they’ve become more commonly used, they’ve acquired nuanced layers of inference and implication. It’s easy to assume we know what someone means by ‘somatic’, for example, but a cursory search for a definition yields many variations on a theme, each grounded in a different discipline.

    While the word ‘somatic’ is somewhat open to interpretation, it’s clear that its root is somatikos, Greek for ‘concerning the body’. Somatic is an adjective, a descriptor, and is most usefully followed by whatever it’s describing. It doesn’t really stand alone and yet, colloquially, ‘somatics’ is used as a noun. It seems to have come to refer to internal physical perception and experience – and to listening for and picking up the signals that the body emits to indicate discomfort or imbalance. As understanding of this area evolves, fields of practice such as therapy and coaching are finding ways to apply what’s discovered.

    Embodiment, the act of embodying or the state of being embodied, also has various meanings. My dictionary includes the following: to form into a body, to make tangible, to express, to make part of a body, to incorporate, to organise. It can also be used when someone or something exemplifies an idea, principle or value. Embodiment is a noun, whilst to embody is a verb. To me, the essence of a personal practice of ‘embodying’ is a sense of agency, of consciously shaping ourselves in relation to an environment and what we’re encountering in it.

    Wearing my dialogue hat, I might venture that somatic practice is one of inquiry, of seeking to discover, of listening to and making sense of our internal and proprioceptive experiences. In contrast, embodied practice is one of advocacy, of expressing a response to events in the way we carry ourselves. Just as dialogue is a skilful dance between inquiry and advocacy, being agile in balancing somatic data and embodied action might enhance our energetic ‘conversation’ with the world.

    For me, somatic experience can represent a ‘notification’ that something needs attention. We can learn to use it as a call to recover centre, a resourceful state that enables us to respond skilfully to the stimulus that activated the somatic signal.

    For example, when something untoward happens to me, such as not getting a piece of work I’ve set my heart on, I crumple a little around my solar plexus. It’s like a balloon deflating slightly. It’s a small movement, but if I catch it and use it as a prompt to access centre, I’m less likely to feel completely demoralised. I also get this somatic ‘alert’ from my solar plexus when I feel a bit frustrated. If I notice this and attend to it by using the LE centring practice, I’m much less likely to express my exasperation by metaphorically ‘headbutting’ someone – which tends to mean a better outcome! Having recovered centre, I’m more likely to bring humour, compassion and creativity to a situation.

    What I love about the LE approach is its immediacy. A somatic ‘alert’ prompts us to take steps to quickly recover centre so we approach the presenting issue more fruitfully. In the moment, we’re not interested in why we’ve flinched, closed, tensed or subsided, we simply want to ensure we don’t act from this unsettled state. To function well in the face of adversity, we work with ‘what is so’ rather than wondering about why it’s so.

    At a later time and in another setting, we may seek insight into the source of our somatic experience – but what matters in real time is conscious embodied action that reflects our values. LE practices support me to do this.


    • When something occurs that isn’t to your liking, what shows up in your body?

    • What will assist you to collect yourself and embody your values in the way you respond?


    I’m renewing my efforts to bring these practices into the world. As part of this, I am hosting a (non-residential) 2-day Leadership Embodiment level 1 workshop in Edinburgh in January

    Join me for Embodying Resilience, 24&25 January 2023, Edinburgh

  • 23 Dec 2022 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    Connect to living systemsAuthors: Loïc Delcros, Emmanuelle Katz and CSA Faculty member Andra Morosi

    3.8 billion years of life on Earth. 3.8 billion years of experimentation, production, exchanges and evolutions have given us a planet Earth which is a source of abundance. 3.8 billion years of development of Living Systems.

    And we, women and men, are part of the Living Systems. We are the Living Systems, together with the birds, the trees or the mycelium - more than a bond, a belonging, a union and a co-responsibility.

    What if reconnecting to the Living Systems was the key to our future, given the context of uncertainty we are currently facing? A collective reconnection of individuals, communities and organizations, geared towards abundance.

    At Seedlings, we believe in reconnecting thanks to the power of our inner transformations, reconnecting in service of abundance in our organizations, reconnecting through the opening of our imaginations. What if…

    What if... for each one of us, leader, team member or partner, reconnecting to the Living Systems was an immediately accessible opening towards something greater than ourselves? 

    Caught up in the hectic pace of our lives made of a continuous succession of actions and reactions, we are more than often trapped in an automatic, mechanical, and sclerotic functioning. And yet, at any time, each of us can reconnect to the closest and most accessible part of Living Systems: life itself or nature in the vicinity.

    Instantly and at any moment, I have the possibility of feeling life through my breath and through the air (some speak of Prana: the energy contained in the air). This air connects all living beings on Earth. By simply connecting to my breath, I connect to the Living.

    Instantly and at any moment, I can also sense life through my bodily sensations which provides me with precise information about what I am experiencing physically and emotionally. I can then connect to a deeper dimension of myself, as a source of information and inner wisdom. Everyone can learn to rely on this "inner compass", in resonance with the Living in the depths of his or her being, to guide ourselves in existence, to find and anchor our bearings and establish fairer and more harmonious relationships with self, with others and with the world.

    Instantly and at any moment, I can connect to others, starting with my close circle of friends, to contact what is most alive in each of them: in particular their emotions and their needs, as Marshall Rosenberg's Non Violent Communication invites us to do. Connected by the universality of our emotions and needs, we are able to better understand each other and to team up, to move forward together towards greater solidarity and fraternity and navigate the ecological and societal transition that is ahead of us.

    Instantly, when I have the opportunity to go out for a few minutes in a natural setting, I can also strengthen and increase my physical, cognitive, emotional and creative capabilities. And this without any effort, only thanks to the beneficial effect of the presence of a natural environment (and in particular trees) as demonstrated by numerous recent scientific studies (1).

    Reconnecting to the Living Systems within and around us makes us individually more anchored, more creative and more joyful, without additional resources other than our awareness, awareness of ourselves, of others and of nature.

    What if... for organizations, reconnecting to the Living Systems was a source of abundance?

    "Go see nature, that's where your future lies" said Leonardo da Vinci. Today engineers, designers or architects are inspired by the extraordinary diversity produced by living things to imagine the products and organizations of tomorrow.

    In a biomimicry approach, they seek the answers provided by the immense library of life to ensure essential functions (protection, movement, communication, exchange, organization, etc.) in order to adapt them to their problems. For example, close observation of the structure of shark skin prompted Speedo to develop a bathing suit (the fastskin) the hydrodynamic properties of which have made it possible to beat numerous swimming records (even if they have subsequently been disputed).

    What if, for a business, for an organization, beyond the biomimetic inspiration, reconnecting to the Living Systems meant giving itself an ambition of abundance, in the long term? Abundance for each of the stakeholders, including for the planet? Only the Living Systems have the ability to self-construct, to self-organize, to self-repair. Only the Living Systems have the capacity to evolve. What if our organizations had the ambition to leverage all the available potential by reconnecting to the Living Systems?

    Here’s an example. Did you know that permaculture combines a very fine knowledge of the principles of growth and collaboration between species with the analysis of the existing ecosystem, in order to optimize the natural cooperation of plants and their environment? By observing the characteristics of the existing land, permacultural farmers favor the planting of species whose collaboration will be the most fruitful for their own growth. Once the organization is in place, the natural cooperation of the species makes it possible to obtain exceptional yields with a minimum of human intervention, and without any industrial inputs.

    For an activity that has been practiced by millions of people for more than 8000 years, that is agriculture, the first permaculture farms showed a value creation up to 3 times higher than traditional farms.

    It is an extraordinary example of an alliance between human intelligence and the Living, an alliance that creates abundance, a major innovation. What if this innovation was applied to all sectors of activity, and all organizations, based on what already exists, in alliance with the Living Systems?

    And what if we also … in our language and our interactions, we strengthen this link to create the conditions for constant inspiration?

    How can we sow the seeds of hope for a desirable future for ourselves, our ecosystems and our planet?

    How to water fertile ideas to see the fields of possibilities bloom?

    How can we cultivate our points of view to allow the emergence of ideas and solutions that we can only imagine collectively?

    How to germinate dreams and watch them blossom?

    How do we clear the land for new ideas, welcome new horizons and nurture our resilience?

    How to branch out the links between living things, elements of the plant, mineral and animal kingdom, cultures and spaces?

    How to fertilize knowledge by recycling elements of the past and present to stimulate innovation?

    How to dig off the beaten track to diversify approaches, impulses and know-how?

    How to prune the superfluous and the harmful to preserve the positive energy that sets us in motion?

    How to take care of seedlings and young shoots to promote growth, development and well-being for everyone?

    How can we bud with creativity to imagine new stories, fully develop ourselves and be in harmony with our environment?

    How to harvest the fruits of an abundance to be found?

    What if reconnecting to the Living Systems was the key to our future? A collective reconnection of individuals, communities and organizations, geared towards abundance?

    At Seedlings, we are professional coaches committed to serve the Living with humility and ambition. From where we are, in companies and organizations, let's write this part of history together by reconnecting to the Living Systems.


    (1) The American philosopher Eugène Gendlin, a pupil of Carl Rogers, developed in the 70s an approach centered on deciphering the sensations of our body: focusing. This approach can guide us through the ecological and societal transition that presents itself to us, while remaining anchored in the Living Systems.

    (2) In "Natura: why nature heals us and makes us happier" (2019, in French) Pascale d'Erm lists the benefits of outdoor work observed by researchers for more than 30 years.

    with permmission from https://en.seedlings-transition.com

  • 15 Nov 2022 2:26 PM | Anonymous

    By CSA Supervisor Laurie Hillis Laurie Hillis

    What is your impact on the world?

    Do you consider yourself self-aware? What does that mean to you? I think that simply asking the question causes us to look at ourselves…potentially for the first time for some of us. Looking at who we are at our core isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s difficult. We aren’t always going to like what we see. And we might be inclined to ignore those pieces. But if they are part of who we are, shouldn’t we consider them when truly examining ourselves?

    Pebble footprints in sand

    I think we can agree that looking inside ourselves is a big part of gaining self-awareness. But that’s not the whole of it. Being truly self-aware requires seeing ourselves for who we are, how we think and feel, what we believe, what we know, how we see the world, and, here’s the kicker, how we impact others.

    It turns out, self-awareness isn’t only about knowing ourselves, it’s about understanding how what we do and say affects or influences other people.

    None of us is alone in this world; no one acts in isolation, ever. The thoughts we have, the things we do, the words we say – all land in unique ways for people around us, whether we intend for it or not.

    And it’s not just the people we know; those we can see. It’s wild to think that how we behave and speak can affect even people we don’t know. Take this blog, for example. I might not know you, but my words are having an effect on you. Whether you like or dislike, agree or disagree with what I say, you are digesting the words I’ve written, as they appear on your screen, and deciding what, if anything, you think about them.

    We might even do something in the regular course of our day that unknowingly impacts someone else. I immediately think about how I’m impacted by how someone treats strangers. In the simplest example, when I see a young person opening a door for a stranger, I am impacted. Even though I will never speak with that person, I notice their kind gesture, and I reflect on whether I would have done the same thing in that situation. It wakes me up to realize that we have countless choices every day and choosing to hold the door open for a stranger makes this world a better place, door by door.

    On the flip side, when we do something that is less than caring, or without thought, we have an impact on others too. If I’m running to catch the elevator door behind someone already inside, and they look at me but don’t stop the door from closing, I feel a little deflated. That feeling doesn’t dissipate quickly. I might even take it with me as I enter wherever I was headed, and snap at someone who has done nothing to deserve my negative mood.

    Isn’t that remarkable? The unknown of how we affect others is exponentially greater than the known. I believe there are endless instances every day for us to have an impact on someone and we don’t even know it.

    A friend recently told me that when she resigned from her job, she was deeply touched by the messages she received from those with whom she had worked. Many of the messages were specific, thoughtful, and touching. They weren’t your run-of-the-mill, “Best wishes in your future endeavours” sentiments. They were detailed, describing exactly how she had had an impact on them and why she would be missed. Many of the instances shared were things she had no idea had had an impact on her co-workers. Some of them, she didn’t even remember.

    Hearing my friend’s story made me wonder how I impact others without even knowing it – positive and negative. I might not fully appreciate how I show up in others’ views, but I know this for sure – I will be more intentional about what I say and do, and how it might impact others. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend on changing who I am – those of you who know me, know that I am authentically me, always – but I will pay closer attention to opportunities to positively impact those around me.

    Yet another flip side – I’m also reflecting on who has had an impact on me. For those who have caused me to smile, to sit up a little taller, to feel good about myself, I’m going to tell them. They deserve to know.

    My challenge to you is three-fold:

    1. Pay attention to how you are showing up in the world, take opportunities to be kind, compassionate, and to build others up. And for those people who you don’t interact with directly, remember, people are watching you.

    2. Think about who has had a positive impact on you and tell them what you appreciate about them.

    3. Use the thoughts offered in this blog to practice self-compassion; treating yourself like you would a good friend, especially for those times you may be critical of yourself for your behaviour.

    Life is full of opportunities to have an impact and to show appreciation. Today, take the opportunity. You never know who you’re going to make smile.

    Laurie Hillis is an Accredited CSA Supervisor and a qualified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator. She founded Megatrain encouraging clients to take the lead on their own learning journeys with Laurie as their thinking partner.

  • 12 Nov 2022 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    by CSA Supervisor Keri Phillips Keri Phillips

    The world of coaching has changed dramatically in recent years, particularly this century; arguably it has been a revolution rather than an evolution. The purpose of this paper is to take stock for a moment and catch breath; namely to look a little more closely at those changes, their consequences and the challenges and opportunities which arise.

    I will set the scene by considering briefly the wider context, then offer a model which seeks to provide an overview of the current nature of coaching; I then consider some of the repercussions. My aim ultimately, is not to offer a series of actions that might be taken. Rather if any of this paper resonates and prompts ideas, whether vague or clear, I hope then that this may lead to further explorations and discussions; hopefully productive and enjoyable.

    Read the Full Paper

  • 21 Oct 2022 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    by CSA Supervisor Biba BinottiGlobal Warriors


    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there”.

    Central to our work at Global Warriors is the creation of courageous cultures. We know deep in our bones that when we show up without fear of negative consequence, magic happens. It is in this place that we innovate, challenge, support and grow.

    Why then is it so hard for many organisations to create workplaces that encourage people to show up, be seen and have a voice?

    As warriors, we knew that we needed to continue doing our own work around this. Integrity and congruence matter to us and, like the businesses we serve, we too have our own edges around creating a courageous culture.

    We’ve been doing a deep dive into psychological safety. We began our journey by looking at the research and we chose to lean into Amy Edmondson’s definition of psychological safety:

    “A belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”

    The definition helps identify the root of psychological safety – our individual belief systems. Our belief systems are shaped by many factors including our families, communities, institutions, social norms, historical forces and spirit. Don Miguel Ruiz states that our beliefs become like books of the law in our heads, and we judge ourselves and others according to these.

    How our beliefs shape our lives

    Take this example. If I hold a belief that it’s not safe to speak truth to power, I may see that as fact. Imagine that I grew up in a household where I was encouraged to respect my elders and those in authority. It’s possible I would have then gone out into the world with a subservience or deference threshold. This may have been reinforced through the education system that I experienced and if so, it is likely that over time, I will have gathered evidence to affirm that belief as true, and it will have become a fixed viewpoint.

    If I experienced instances where authority figures used their power to silence me, I may have developed even stronger neural pathways that guide me when I feel the urge to speak or express my intuition, i.e., that it is actually safer to remain silent.

    If the organisation I work in wants to encourage me to speak up and share my truth, I would need to be motivated to rewire my belief, and the organisation would need to demonstrate that it truly valued truth-telling for me to decide that the transformation was worthwhile.

    All part of being human

    As human beings we share fundamental needs: to be seen and heard, to be loved and belong, and to be validated. We assume that we know how to get our needs met in healthy ways. But unless it was modelled for us, we can find ourselves caught in defensive, dysfunctional patterns of behaviour. These defensive behaviours are often unconscious and can be overt (control, power, competitive, perfection) or covert: (conformance, appeasing, avoidance, dependence). They become our modus operandi; the way we believe we need to operate in order to succeed.

    If we want to practise – and experience – psychological safety we need to dig in and do the work at different levels: individually, in teams and organisationally.

    As individuals

    Being open to the possibility that there may be a better way to work and be together, calls us to do our own inner work. It’s about making the unconscious conscious. This involves deeply examining how we show up and understanding what drives our reactive tendencies and behaviours. It requires us to be open to healing the wounds or ‘shaping’ that have created our unconscious defensiveness in our leadership.

    As teams

    When Google conducted their “Project Aristotle” in 2015, they found that successful teams had 5 common elements: psychological safety, dependability, structure and clarity, meaning and impact of work. Psychological safety was found to be the most critical factor and enabled the other four factors. However, Ipsos, 2012 found that 47% of employees worldwide described their workplaces as psychological safe and healthy.

    Team psychological safety (TPS) is a shared belief that people feel safe about the interpersonal risks that arise concerning their behaviours in a team context (Edmondson, 2018). We believe that talking openly about the type of culture we want to create together, and how we will do that together, is just as important as focusing on the tasks and outcomes we desire.

    If we want to create teams where it is safe to dissent, be embarrassed and make a mistake, it matters that we can also discuss and agree how we are going to be together when we feel ‘triggered’ and our defences are up. And it really matters that we develop our ability to be open and willing to practise these agreements around positivity and productivity together.

    Let’s face it, it’s easy to go through the motions of defining agreements without having the tenacity and courage to hold ourselves accountable. If we say we want to be honest and speak our truth and we sense that we are not doing this, we need to call it out in a way that invites curiosity and learning – not judgment or blame.

    As organisations

    When we adopt a systemic lens, we can explore how the broader collective works together to achieve its mission. One of the questions we can invite is whether the organisational levers that we pull, successfully support psychological safety.

    For example, there may be many different feedback loops, but is it really okay to say that we are not okay without fear of retribution? Can we point out biases and privilege without it being career limiting? Do our pay and reward systems encourage and reinforce the behaviours and values we espouse? Competency frameworks and job evaluations help prevent bias and reinforce safety, but have we honestly looked at them through the lived experience of our people? Do they really deliver?

    Can we really call upon our courage to do something that frightens us? Whether that’s

    • individually, to be honest and ask how we get in our own way of speaking up,

    • Within the team, to name the elephants with love and compassion, and to innovate and have healthy conflict that moves the dial forward

    • Or organisationally, to consider the whole system and whether it encourages the heartbeat of the organisation to play out loud to the rhythm of its mission?

    In Global Warriors we are committed to doing our work. We are willing to begin again. We sense intuitively when things aren’t working, and we convene conversations that rumble in the darkness and discover the light. One thing we know is that psychological safety means different things for each of us, so there needs to be respect for wherever people may be at on the continuum. It is not easy, and we don’t always get it right. And yet we are committed to stay in the learning zone.

    Building that capacity to stay involves standing in the fire and leaning fully into the tools and practices that we teach. This is what gives us the courage to talk about love and leadership simultaneously in the workplace. We know that a new way is possible, and we see the green shoots.

    If you, your team or organisation sense that there’s a better, bolder, more real way to do your work together and you want to be better together, here is our invitation:

    Ask yourself:

    1. What risks am I, and are we taking?

    2. Where are we stuck going through the motions?

    3. Where is my / our energy being wasted in our attempts to defend ourselves?

    4. What (beliefs, attitudes, behaviours) do I / we need to liberate to free myself and others up to not be afraid of each other and have voice?

    We would love to meet you, your team and organisation in the field out there. We live for helping people and organisations, who care deeply about their work and their impact, to be courageous individually and collectively.

    If this speaks to your heart, call us. We’d love to hear your story.

    This post has be reproduced with kind permission from CSA Acredited Supervisor Biba Binotti and the team at Global Warriors

  • 2 Oct 2022 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    by Julie Johnson Julie Johnson

    Years ago, I unintentionally fell asleep on my colleague while he was driving both of us home from our very first coaching assignment ever. We both laugh about it now, but I am grateful that HE was driving! I think this experience illustrates that we consume a lot of energy when we listen deeply during a coaching conversation.

    In fact, coaching conversations are very different from our typical day-to-day ones, in large part because of how deeply we listen to the other person. Deep listening can take many forms, and this post is about what you can do when you find yourself NOT able to listen deeply.

    Fast forwarding from that first experience to about 10 years later, when I was coaching a manager who was telling a long story. I found myself trying hard to listen, yet repeatedly ‘drifting off’. Over and over again.

    My stomach was going into knots because I was angry and frustrated with myself. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing.

    Then a light bulb went on, and I was suddenly fascinated by the fact that I was working this hard to stay engaged. Why was this happening?

    I started to explore what exactly was going on, and my attention turned toward the way in which my coachee was relating her story (true confession: I was still not listening to the content). A visual image started emerging in my mind of a branch with leaves on both sides. Her story seemed to have a goal, heading from the base to the tip of the branch, but it kept taking significant detours to walk around the edges of each leaf along the way. It seemed to take way too long to get from base to tip. Every time another detour occurred, I felt annoyance, followed by inattention. I wanted her to finish the point she had started straight away, and not be obligated to weather the asides. I wondered whether others experienced her narrations in the same way.

    At a certain point, I asked for a time out and permission to share what was going on inside of me. Taken by surprise, she was curious about what I might say. I related the above, and even shared a couple of specific detour examples that I had jotted down while [not] listening. Then I drew the branch.

    She immediately took the conversation in a completely new direction, making links between what I had shared and what she struggled with when communicating with key stakeholders. This created a shortcut that accelerated our progress significantly.

    When you are coaching someone and working (too) hard to listen, start exploring why you are feeling that way. Whatever the cause, it can be very useful to step back, try to understand what is really going on, and share that with your coachee. It may end up to be useful for you, and for your coachee!

    Silence, offered as a gift, can create the space our coachees need for real progress.

    Julie Johnson


  • 15 Sep 2022 1:11 PM | Anonymous

    RoseCreativity as a Radical Act of Hope
    by Elaine Patterson

    I am a historian at heart. At school I loved playing with the quote which was attributed to Talleyrand. Talleyrand said that the restored Bonaparte dynasty - after the abdication of Napoleon - “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”

    When I surveyed our world as I returned from my August retreat up in the Lake District this quote came flooding back to me. And then I thankfully remembered Mother Theresa’s quote ‘“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” which stopped me from becoming disheartened or discombobulated.

    For me, my creativity has always come to my rescue when I feel my energy surge as well as when I feel stuck or overwhelmed. Our creativity comes in many shapes and guises for each of us but connecting to what is already innate in us is actually an act of deep honouring and of profound remembering (and re-membering) – bringing us back to who we are and to wholeheartedly own (or reclaim) our innate vitality, power and agency.

    For me, my creativity – and creative expression – can be found in the quiet whisperings of my soul which finds its voice in a myriad of ways across by life and work, but which ( I am also very aware) needs my love to breathe in spaces of beauty, inspiration, and community. And I see my creativity as a radical act of hope empowering me to find – or reclaim – my own agency to create anew, make different or stop what is not working.

    This is why - with my inspiratrice Karyn Prentice - we designed our flagship EMCC Global EQA programme called ‘Cultivating and Choreographing the Rich Tapestry of your Wholehearted Creativity’.

    The purpose of the programme is threefold - to weave together an celebration and sculpting of your own creative nature, to realistically honour and resource the warp and weft (and the ebbs and the flows) of the creative process, and to offer the opportunity to pour your learning into a creative project of your choice.

    If any of speaks to your soul, then please do join us for our next programme which starts again in November 2023. Full details are here

    Your soul will forever thank you for taking the time to nurture yourself as you also nurture others!


  • 11 Jul 2022 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    by Will MeddDr Will Medd

    I caught myself out this last week and wanted to share briefly - it's about pausing - the need to take small pauses through your working day.

    We recently moved house and there is a huge amount of DIY to do. I quite enjoy it, yet there is lots and it's easy to get tired. I've worked out you can move it on in small chunks, and I've also noticed my tendency to then be constantly doing 'small chunks'. Because, of course, I will feel so much better when it's done so I tell myself. Which soon becomes, I won't feel better until it's done. Becomes I won't feel good for a long time because there is so much, it's never ending.

    DIY Will Medd

    So, I caught myself. The first bit is true, small chunks make a difference, they progress things, they are manageable. And the next bit isn't! I can feel good now. I can feel good even though there is a lot more to do. And, when I feel good, I enjoy it more. I get more done in the chunks and I rest more. Yes, there is still more to do. And there still will be even when I've squeezed out another moment to 'finish' something instead of pause, relax and tap into that something else that feeds us.

    This all relates to a quote by Thomas Merton in 1966 - on the violence of our times - I read is as about the significance of tapping into pausing in order to be more aligned, more attuned within ourselves, to others, to the bigger picture, and that place being a much better place to act than from here.

    “There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”  Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

    Since 'Who we are is how we supervise?' is it possible to say how we live is how we supervise? Could it be that how we organise ourselves, work, rest and play is informing our supervision in ways that might need some reflection?

    I don't think I'm alone in sometimes feeling some disconnect between the space I want to hold as a supervisor and the 'busy' space I sometimes find myself in around that. Indeed, I notice that I'm at my best as a supervisor when I'm also holding awareness of how I'm living my life and with that awareness I tend to be more spacious. And strangely often get much more done! If being busy is a habit, moving from one thing to the next, If we are in the habit of being busy, getting lots done, does that make it more challenging when we supervise to hold a spacious place? And what else becomes part of that habit - what assumptions, believes, patterns move with us and into the space of supervision. So I'm all for pausing, with purpose! Indeed, that for me is what supervision is about - a place to pause with purpose.

    I host a series of 'Pause with purpose: bringing meditation into the midst of life' days

    A unique experience of bringing meditation right into the heart of what you do, into the midst of your normal everyday life.

    The next pause day ... Tuesday 26th July - full details available here 


  • 5 Jul 2022 11:56 AM | Anonymous

    by Doug MontgomeryDoug Montgomery

    As a coachee or supervisee we can think we are ready to take a metaphorical plunge into a professional or personal issue with our coach or supervisor. We may even arrive in the session with great intention. And then find the water is just too cold and painfully uncomfortable to take the next step. Remembering a cold morning swim, Doug explores how we can create the right conditions for us to ‘take the plunge’.

    A while ago I found myself standing waist deep in a beautiful fresh water swimming pond – it was very cold, in fact it was bitterly cold, and I had volunteered to go for a morning swim before our retreat day started.

    What seemed like a great idea the evening before over a glass of red, now seemed deeply uncomfortable and even dangerous. My fellow swimmer, Rachel, was already in and swimming, and the rest of our small band of intrepid volunteers were getting into the water.

    Taking the plungeTo swim or not to swim?

    My ego was screaming… “don’t wimp out now!” “A real man would be swimming by now!” “What will others think if you get out without getting under the water?”

    However, what I did was to tell Rachel and the others that I’d had enough for today and got out, dried off and walked back to my room with a sense of achievement. I’d gone into the water, I’d not been able to get my breathing settled in the cold water, I’d decided that I was not ready to go further, and I’d found the courage to get out of the water. It was still an exhilarating feeling and my skin tingled from the cold.

    Why am I sharing this with you? As a coach or a coach supervisor it is easy to get ahead of our clients, to have great ideas of how we can create a great experience and make a marvellous difference for them. We can have lots of great plans and ideas.

    As a coachee or supervisee we can think we are ready to take a metaphorical plunge into a professional or personal issue with our coach or supervisor. We may even arrive in the session with great intention… And then find the water is just too cold and painfully uncomfortable to take the next step.

    It is so important to create the conditions in which our clients can pause and, in the moment, decide whether to proceed and which path to go down. And we need to be alongside them, non-judgemental, encouraging their autonomy and supporting their choices.

    Co-creating the safe, trusting, non-judgemental container for coaching and supervision clients is the foundation for our Coach Supervision, HR Super-Vision groups and Leaders’ Pause and Reflection Super-Vision groups. Contact us to learn more.

    To complete the story… the next day we went to the pond again and I got in again and this time swam in its fresh clear and still cold water. The safety of my group of friends holding no judgement of me the previous day, the new familiarity of being in the water and on the brink of swimming, and knowing it was my choice all allowed me to get my breathing under control and take the plunge.

    Wow, it was exhilarating!

    More Articles, events and insights can be found on CSA Faculty Members Liz Nottingham and Doug Montgomery's web site:


  • 27 May 2022 2:26 PM | Anonymous

    by Julie Johnson Julie Johnson

    We’ve all experienced it – that pause that appears after we’ve asked our coachee a particularly challenging question. I am talking about the sort of question that requires soul searching or an honest look at one’s own (often limiting) assumptions.

    Our coachee’s first reaction to such a question can be an unusual amount of silence. Depending on culture and other factors, that silence can make our coachee feel socially uncomfortable, because they are not quickly doing what they’ve been asked to do: answer the question. They may want to say something trivial to fill the space and buy some time to come up with an answer. Yet doing that can distract them from fully focusing on the question and its emerging answer.

    Quite recently, I asked a coachee for feedback at the end of a coaching session (which I frequently do). She answered, “You made me feel comfortable.” Curious, I asked which of the myriad of things I had done had made her feel comfortable. She answered without hesitation, “You said, ‘Take your time.’”

    I probably use that phrase several times per week. When I do, I see shoulders relax downward, gazes shift upward or out the window, or notes being furiously written.

    Here’s how it often goes:

    • Question
    • Silence (tense)
    • “Take your time.”
    • Silence (relaxed)
    • Important discoveries

    Silence, offered as a gift, can create the space our coachees need for real progress.

    Julie Johnson


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