I learnt how to listen! I know I learnt this at school however it seems that in our fast paced world it’s something we have forgotten to do properly.I took that learning & applied it to my direct team . I consider myself to be a helpful person however answering someone’s question for them isn’t necessarily the best way to help. I found that letting people talk without interruption can mean that they eventually get to the answer themselves which helps grow their confidence.Today actually we were discussing 16/17 budget estimates and I knew where we needed to get to however I wanted my AM, who has confidence issues & immensely dislikes anything related to budget estimates, to get there herself. With pure listening, no interruption & minimal input from me she got there & she was so pleased with herself!
Fiona has a rare set of gifts, and they keep giving. An exemplary executive and uncommon advisor, she has an incisive mind, decisive hand, inclusive manner and questing spirit - everything one could wish from a leader and mentor. Am consistently struck by her ability to see through to the truth of a situation and draw clear actions from it. She is always very conscious of all that surrounds her with an enormous zest for life and drive to make a difference.
Today’s session with Fiona was definitely one of the most valuable sessions that I have experienced. The concept of ‘Thinking Partners’ will add a new thread in both a behaviour to promote within our business as well as one that I will actively seek to enable me to have my own thinking space/partner.
Last year, I participated in a Vital Space/More Time to Think series of sessions lead by Fiona. Whilst sat in the ‘hot seat’ doing some problem-solving, a resolution came to me as I was talking out aloud: ‘I want to start a new chapter in my life; it’s time to get my MBA. That was July 2012. I now write this recommendation in September 2013, sat in my kitchen in Denmark as a full-time MBA candidate at Copenhagen Business School. The journey thus far has been full of change, hard work and risk – and there’s more to come. But the Vital Space process fuelled me with courage, calm and confidence that I was making the right decision. I knew what my next step was all along; I just needed someone to help me stop, listen to myself and progress. Now I am on track for an entirely new career in sustainable business and I am living my dream. Thank you, Fiona.
I first experienced Fiona and the Thinking Environment model when she coached me during my fellowship at the Clore Social Leadership Programme. I loved her intuitive, respectful approach to working with me so booked on to the Time to Think foundation course with Vital Space. This was an amazing experience. A well constructed course that models the 10 components of the Thinking Environment. In 2 days, Fiona expertly guided a group of 9 into a safe space which gave us the opportunity to do some deep and powerful work. I have already been able to use the model since attending the course and regularly refer to the approach when planning meetings a workshops. Great value for money and a truly life-affirming experience
I applied the learning for my wider team meeting and it transformed the session. I followed the principles of your ‘agenda’ and had several rounds of thinking pairs. Whilst I can’t say they were all the best thinking pairs, it was very powerful and the outputs from the meeting were much better...as well as the ‘feeling’ the team had when we finished the day. We were able to discuss some thorny issues but instead of getting wrapped in problems we were able to get to some positive solutions. It was a very different meeting. And I enjoyed tremendously leading it...
Today I was facilitating a trustee awayday for a board that has been through a lot and I did not announce with great fanfares that we were using The Thinking Environment but we did – and the feedback was that it was the best meeting they have had for ever!It brings people closer and allows them to make themselves a little bit more vulnerable which is a step closer to building rapport and trust – but in gentle steps that they are in control of. Love it.