Dr. Cathryn Lloyd, Founder and Director of Maverick Minds has just completed her latest co-written book, Facilitating with Stories: Ethics, Reflective Practice and Philosophies, about the power of stories as a tool for reflection. Written for coaches and facilitators as a resource guide, it features collected works from practitioners who use storytelling professionally.
Why should organisations consider Team Coaching, and how can it benefit teams?
We hear we live in complex and uncertain times, and I’m sure previous generations have felt the same. Statements like this can start to sound a little cliched and yet the truth of this is clear. We are facing very real complex issues, climate, energy, environment, equality and equity, population growth and sustainability to name a few. They are challenges and yet they offer opportunities and the chance to do things differently and better.
Uncertainty and complexity underpin the need for creativity, collaboration, and cooperation and the reasons why team coaching brings many benefits. Creating positive change in the workplace, community, and politics requires different forms of engagement. Leadership is under scrutiny and that’s been highlighted in the recent Australian election.
The idea that one person has all the answers is outdated. Good ideas can emerge from anyone and action for change is required by everyone.
Team coaching moves us from outdated linear thinking to a systems thinking approach with tangible benefits. The coaching methodologies I work with helps teams investigate all aspects of work from purpose to leadership and everything in between.
I think people are looking for different ways to work together and do business.
Team coaching is more emergent and leans into the space of uncertainty which can be confronting and enlightening. A level of openness and vulnerability is needed for people to step into a team coaching process; not all teams are immediately developed or ready enough and may require a little more facilitation or educational inputs to create a receptive culture for team coaching. All of it is really part of the team coaching dynamics and a place for learning together. It’s people co-creating, taking responsibility, being accountable, working through their particular dynamics and discovering what is alive and needed for the team to do what it has been set up to do in the best possible way.
I’m also a practicum co-facilitator for the Global Team Coaching Institute, the association I did my foundational team coaching accreditation with. It’s a fantastic way to continue developing my coaching skills alongside other practitioners. I continue to work with individuals in a coaching capacity as well as group facilitation. It really depends on the need of my clients. I’m mostly interested in having conversations with people who are open to coaching as a way of learning individually and collectively and would like to experience the benefits and create positive change.
Share with us the impact of Individual coaching.
There’s enormous traction that can be gained through team coaching, and individual coaching also brings benefits. It’s not an either or, both have impact; just as teams need quality time to reflect on what’s working and where improvements can be made, the same is true for individuals. Individuals benefit from dedicated time to explore their aspirations and dreams and what they identify as areas for development or change.
Coaching lets people focus on their strengths and provides support for individuals to stretch into challenging areas. Coaching helps people to step outside their habitual ways of thinking and doing and to confidently experiment with the changes they identify. Coaching is a place of creativity, curiosity, discovery and ultimately action.
As an example I’ve been using Maverick Minds coaching book Seriously Playful Creativity with a client and recently we were exploring the benefits of Disruption, even small disruptions. There was a realisation playing ‘safe’ also meant missing out on opportunities that could be worth experiencing. Most of us get stuck in ways of doing things, that’s not unusual. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest when we are up one particular tree.
Coaching gives space for reflection, new perspectives, points of view and making choices. Coaching lets us go between being on the dance floor and getting on the balcony.
Tell us about the workshops you are running at the Queensland Art Teacher’s Association Conference – Creative Starts and Stumbles: finding inspiration in the everyday.
It’s workshop for teachers to explore their creativity in they everyday. As the title suggests the creative process is not always smooth sailing. I’ll be drawing on aspects of my daily art project mm365, and my book Seriously Playful Creativity: An A to Z of Creative Action and Reflection for inspiration. The idea of being a bricoleur, making do with what is available will also inform the workshops.
We’ll explore being resourcefulness (which teachers are), getting stuck in perfectionism, which can lead to lots of judgement, and play with letting go. Indeed, there are times for critiquing, the art and skill in the creative process is knowing when to step into and out of those elements of creativity and creative output.
You’ve started a daily art practice project mm365. Why did you start this, and what have you learned?
The starting point is similar to the realisation I had in 2020 that I wanted to create a personal / professional legacy from that year. That culminated with the publication of my book and coaching resource Seriously Playful Creativity. At the end of 2021 I asked myself that question again for 2022. I also had a strong need to make sure I was attending to my own creative practice (my original training is in design and visual arts) and not let it slide due to other business commitments, even though these two worlds are often interlinked. I started to feel that regular connection to my own creative practice and expression was being left unattended and I was falling into the trap of “getting to it when I have time, or waiting for inspiration”. I realised I could be waiting a while…
One of the features of my coaching practice is to help others tap into their creativity and focus on their creative practice, so in many respects it is about walking the talk. I believe that making this commitment is honouring my creativity and in turn will help me be a better coach.
The challenge is to create an artwork/image a day, hence mm365. The project is to focus my creativity on a daily basis and see what shifts throughout the year. I felt a burning desire to challenge myself to do something visually creative every day and see what happens. The declaration to produce an artwork each day is more demanding than I appreciated.
Creativity is not without constraints, so as part of the project I gave myself a few which I think are helpful. The main four practical constraints include:
- Size: I took size out of the decision-making equation so the images are postcard size, an influence from old postcards my Grandfather collected when he was based in Malta with the Royal Navy.
- Every day inspiration: The images are inspired by moments, observations, reflections, conversations, however big or small and materials found, drawn, painted, collaged – hand drawn and hand cut. No digital technology has been harmed in the making of these images.
- Bricolage and being a Bricoleur: this is about being resourceful and working with materials that are available and at hand. A lot of the materials I use are upcycled and recycled in some way. It’s not about having the latest and greatest. It’s based on what do I have and what I can do with it?
- Commitment: produce the images regardless, inspired or not, with an idea or not. I step into my little studio space and trust something will happen. It’s become a discipline to not let the vagaries of inspiration dictate whether I will or won’t create something. And let me tell you I can arrive with very little inspiration or any idea.
People are asking and what I intend on doing with it. I’ve intentionally avoided pre-empting too much. I’m more interested in the process right now, like the commitment, my responses and the work that emerges each day. Naturally there are ideas emerging and I’ll make decisions once the project is complete. That’s probably another constraint, in that I’m trying not to impose on or influence the day to day images with a pre-destined outcome. What I do know, is that I will have a body of work to play with at the end…so watch this space.
In the meantime, a few emerging insights I can share:
- How to work with uncertainty and let go
- Set up structures and allow for emergence
- Refrain from judgement and perfectionism
- Don’t leave creativity to the whims of inspiration
- Make time for special projects, rather than have them sabotaged by other factors
- Trust the process you decide will support you and work with that
- We are more resourceful than we often think
I think these useful insights for all areas of life and work and I’m interested to see what else emerges over the year.
You have just finished co-writing a new book, Facilitating with Stories: Ethics, Reflective Practice and Philosophies. What is it about?
It’s about using stories in facilitation and is really an extension of our first book The Story Cookbook: practical recipes for change. The book has a great collection of contributors from around the world, who have reflected on their facilitation/coaching practice and how stories have become integral to their work. Andrew (my co-author) and I identified a bit of a gap in the literature around ethics and stories, so there is a section around the ethical implications of working with stories.
We also look at how stories can be used for reflection, and we have a range of personal/professional facilitation philosophies; plus the authors have provided story-based activities. I think it’s going to be a fabulous resource for people who do facilitate and work with stories or would like to incorporate more story-based processes in their work. Stories are powerful, and we do need to be mindful about the how, when, who and where of working with stories. We’re hopeful it will be published by the end of 2022.
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