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Reflective Practitioner - ReVisit

Belinda put down the phone. She couldn’t believe how much better she felt by talking it through with her coach. She really wasn’t happy how her business meeting had gone and she had blamed herself for it all. Now she had much more clarity, knew what she was responsible for and what she wasn’t responsible for and most importantly of all she knew what she was going to do moving ahead.

Life is not smooth sailing. Things will go wrong, however much we prepare sometimes. The key to it all is to be a reflective practitioner and to view these things as part of an ongoing journey of learning and growth and not a binary pass/fail moment. I’m a big fan of the High-Performance Podcast by Jake Humphrey and Damien Hughes. Each week they interview guests on their high-performance journey and the common theme in many guests is the ability to be reflective practitioners, to have open and honest review and the desire to look for areas to improve. So, this month we will be looking at the 4 key elements of being a reflective practitioner.

  • ReVisit – Say what you see. What could sit at the root of it? How did it feel? What could sit at the root of it?

  • ReView – Evaluate what worked well and what could be better. Analyse and conclude.

  • ReFrame – What could this look like?

  • ReBuild – what is the one thing that could have the biggest impact? Consider the Priority, Partner and Plan.

This week we look at what a full ReVisit looks like.

Say what you see – from different perspectives

When I am coaching someone, we start with ‘tell me about it’. I ask the client to tell me what happened. They recount what happened and like an artist, they start with the broad-brush strokes – the outline of what happened. I then ask them to metaphorically paint me the details. How did that person respond? Where did this happen? Who else was there? What did you notice about the person as they responded? How did you react? With each question it allows them and me to see the picture. Sometimes I will ask them to look at the picture from a different angle. I will ask them like a drone camera to look from above, to look from the other person’s body-cam perspective. All of it allowing them to ‘say what they see’. The idea is to get as full a perspective as possible.

Beware of the bias

When revisiting a situation, the tendency is to just look from one perspective – your own. This is useful to reflect on what you see, but the danger is that you run it through the lens of your own unconscious bias or internal stories that you tell yourself.

Belinda recounted to her coach about the short and abrupt tone that Richmond had responded to her in. “I know it’s because he thinks I was to blame for the situation,” she quickly added to the recount. Her coach leaned forward and said, “let’s just press pause there.” He followed up with a couple of questions to help her pan out and consider the wider perspective.

  • “What contributes to you thinking that?”

  • “What could be the other reasons for that response from Richmond? What else could be going on for Richmond?”

The penny dropped. She didn’t 'know' that was Richmond's opinion.

“It’s my filter again, isn’t it?” she replied. “My self-blame filter.”

When you say what you see, eg Richmond spoke in a short and abrupt tone, the tendency is to jump to one conclusion. The trick is, when you find yourself jumping to a bias, to ask yourself, “what could be the other contributors to this?” As you do this, you pan out even wider, examining what you see of the person, their experiences, what happened prior to the event.

Time and space traveller

Movie makers can freeze time. The scene pauses and then the camera moves into drone mode, moving 360 degrees around the scene. Gaining a full perspective on the current scene. (Remember the Matrix frozen scene with Neo bent backwards and bullets frozen?) Then by the power of the movies the director can take a character and rewinds their movie reel to show all that you can see of the character’s experiences leading up to this point. Now you see why they are here on this day, in this moment, with these feelings and the expression you now see. When we review a situation, to say what you see, we not only need to get a 360 of the moment but we need to be time travellers too. What do we know about the characters up to this moment? What experiences have they had that feed into this? What bias of theirs do we see maybe coming into play?

People, Place, Politics, climate

There are some key areas to consider when you revisit, it’s not just about the people in the scene. It is about the scene itself. Say what you see about the

  • People – What are their values, experiences and situation? Was there an audience to perform to?

  • Place – What is the lighting, temperature, ambiance, space/comfort like?

  • Politics – What are the issues affecting people there and the organisational situation?

  • Climate – What is the culture of the organisation? What are the relationships in the room?

Lemony Snickett wrote a book series called ‘A series of unfortunate events’. When I work with clients, I often ask them, “have we got a Lemony Snickett here – a series of unfortunate events?” Some describe it as ‘the perfect storm’, which I find is a bizarre phrase to use the word 'perfect' to describe something that is going horribly wrong because all the possible bad circumstances come together to cause the destruction. Whichever phrase you use, understanding all the forces that came into play in that moment is what we are trying to do in the ReVisit. For when you have the full picture in the ReVisit it enables you to make the right decision in your review on how to take things forward. But more on that next week!

Can we help you?

We hope this blog has been helpful and if you would like some more targeted support to understand a situation better and move forward then Everyday Leader is here to help you. Our clients find their coaching empowering, as we help them gain a full perspective and find a way forward. If you have a challenge and you would like our support, then do get in contact with us. Give us a call on 01449 710438 or email if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you.

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know. Contact us now:


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