Sitting in the fire...

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All of our Employment Specialists and Team leads have recently participated in some group coaching sessions. Here Helen shares her experiences and what the sessions will enable front line staff to take forward to support their own wellbeing as well as that of our clients. 


This is a summary of their coaching sessions - the feelings in the room and the challenges the group faced on their coaching journey. 

After staff had participated in the Redkite coaching about archetypes, we were asked by Tony and Valerie (the coaches) what we wanted to do to stay in the fire. That opened a difficult conversation in ‘the round’ that took about 2 ½ hours! It felt to me a bit like group work or drama. So we all acted out having been given a few pointers and all got out of our depth staying in the fire – a matter of suggestion.

The endpoint that we wanted was an answer to the question ‘what next?’ What do we want to do to keep the training vibrant and meaningful?

How can we use it as a tool, to inspire and teach us what to do? We tried to do this by looking at working towards themes every month, to look at making a design alliance for this work and making lists of the tasks to do and ideas about tips and techniques.

We were exploring it from a techniques viewpoint. We looked at how we could approach it in supervision, what line managers should do, what our communication manager's role is, what our Chief Executive's role is. We also looked at staying in the fire and what the coaches should have done and how they somehow had not prepared us – putting us on the spot!

So we divided into groups and used our archetypes to try to come up with something which we could take forward to keep the fire alive. 

We came up with some ideas: 

  • Establish monthly themes based on the coaching training.
  • Look at techniques that can be shared using Yammer monthly.
  • Bring themes to supervision with line manager.
  • Use appreciation regularly in team meetings.
  • Practice and play with archetypes to get out of comfort zone. This can be either on your own, in your team meeting or with line manager.
  • Use Yammer as a vehicle to share new techniques, successes in sitting in the fire and experience in moving out of comfort zone into the fire.
  • Use design alliance with own clients and also at the beginning of meetings where we need to clarify direction.
  • Look at the power of saying No with clients and be confident with saying it to look after oneself.


What happened as a result of this coaching was we did indeed sit in the fire and felt outside our comfort zones in leading from the floor. Part of me wants to say - we should have been given the task we were asked in a different way right from the beginning of the 3rd group of coaching days. Then we could have stretched outside our comfort zones. So the discussion in the direction we were growing meaningfully. Somehow we were caught ‘on the hop’ when people who normally want a first bite of the cherry were given the first bite, losing direction and ending up feeling they were doing ‘psychodrama’. But part of me thinks - so what the hell, we got in first and can make most of the experience. In my eyes it was good to go first and sit uncomfortably in the fire! 

Let's hope that sitting in the fire leads to sparks of creativity for the future! 

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