We begin by no knowing!
Our experience suggests that clients benefit the most when we begin by providing a safe and creative environment for them to clarify their needs and consider the questions they may need to ask. So, we start by listening. Then we create a space which allows all individuals to contribute, to not know, then to question and begin to understand what may need to change and to make real collaborative decisions about what is needed to help the team or organisation.
First session example ..
Following our initial conversation with you to decide a convenient time, place and venue for all concerned, our first session with you might look something like this.
The room will be set as an informal circle layout. A large side table will be covered with an assortment of objects to facilitate action methods including stones, scarves, string, shapes, coloured objects, small models etc. Refreshments are made available.
At the start, we all introduce ourselves, not in an embarrassing way, but rather in a real, encouraging and supportive way which allows us all to arrive. We can name any pressure or situation that preoccupies us so we can do our best to be present, to concentrate and contribute to the session. It is as important to hear each other as it is to speak. We might even invite you to stand behind your chairs to speak and sit down as you finish, your first bit of action!
I wonder if you have ever tried to explain something and said “I don’t quite see what you mean, can you show me?” If you have, this is the essence of action methods, making ideas visual to understand them better. We facilitate this deeply using objects, or creating shapes, and making visible ideas and opinions to illustrate situations, issues, differing opinions.
Working with us people often are heard to say:
“I hadn’t thought of it like that before.”
So depending on this context, we may begin by inviting each person to pick a couple of objects they are drawn to to help describe or illustrate the issue at hand… they discuss, they puzzle in pairs, then perhaps in fours and then we see what we are discovering by listening, mapping out if needed….
In action together….
Then we are in action together exploring…. clarifying issues….naming questions, hearing ideas, considering ways forward, identifying and beginning the process of understanding each other and then learning skills and behaviours to improve your team or organisation.