Why Energy Work is not just for hippies
Recently I was asked to work with a team in where there are dysfunctional and destructive behaviours at play. I met the team initially one-one to get a sense of what was happening.
Of course there are facts at play:
The leaders are not working effectively together.
Productivity is being disrupted.
Junior people are observing a lack of leadership.
Egos are getting in the way of collaboration.
Then there assumptions:
Professional jealousy between peers.
A sense of favouritism from the leader.
Not feeling good enough to be ‘real’ within the team.
People defending their need to be right.
A couple of people in denial that there is even a problem.
Team members willing to talk about each other, not to each other.
So there are several lenses you can bring to diagnose this situation:
A standard approach would be to tackle the issue from a cognitive perspective where I facilitate a session to: create some team behaviours, set some goals, outline the consequences for lack of delivering outcomes, create a charter that the team signs up to and review the structure of the team. These can all be effective ways of changing and improving team behaviours. However, when I explored this with the Executive Leader, these had all been tried and it was clear that some deeper work was required.
The team was receptive to trying a new approach which involved working with them on a more intuitive level. As individuals, we have all have our own feelings, beliefs and emotions and when we come together in a team environment, these play out in different ways during our interactions with our colleagues. In this particular instance, I worked with the team to understand what was happening on a more subconscious level. When I ‘tuned in’ to the dynamic of the team, I felt a large sense of disempowerment, a feeling of not being heard and people being unable to communicate effectively. I did some work with the team to clear these feelings which were creating blocks and tension within the group. Then I facilitated a team dialogue where two key things emerged a) team members were not equipped to deal with behavioural conflict and b) they were unsure what their colleagues would think of them if they were to speak their truth.
This allowed me to partner with them to design some interventions, firstly some skills based dialogue modelling which taught them some clear ways to have the conversation and secondly we are now going to look at the shadow side of this, that is what we are judging and not owning therefore it becomes projected thinking. An example: One of the team members (let’s call him Tom) was judging another team member for being dishonest, so we explored where Tom was not being honest in their life or where they saw this behaviour play out in the past and had judged it. After a conversation exploring this, Tom had a memory of where he had been lied to in a previous job and so now was very harsh around any perceived lies.
We explored some ways Tom could deal with this situation which could lead to a re-frame of his perceptions – this included re-visiting that painful memory and letting it go, a conversation with the team member from a place of curiosity to try to understand the other person’s perspective. Turned out Tom had made some assumptions about the other person that weren’t accurate and through dialogue they were able to reach a better understanding of each other.
During another session I had with one of my regular coaching clients last week, a strong pattern was broken – this pattern was a focus on others at the expense of self. It played out in putting others first, caring about how he was perceived by others and worrying about what his boss thought. He was ready to break this pattern and move forward in a more empowered way. We didn’t accomplish this through a cognitive coaching session, we did this through energy work, allowing him to hear his soul tell him what was the best way forward for him and what he needed to release in his life that was no longer working for him.
You could also look at this through the lens of the inner child – I know when I behave in a way that is atypical, it is not the adult Sue behaving like this, it is a small part of me that is feeling fear – you know that expression ‘he’s thrown his toys out of the cot’ – we instinctively know these things, but we forget to re-connect with that part of ourselves that is little and insecure. There is an energy with this part of us that is often neglected. Allowing this voice to be heard is incredibly healing.
It gives me such joy to work with people who are open to learning and really want to discover who they are at a deeper level and grow into self-aware, truly empowered leaders.
Reflection thought starters:
Where in your life do you feel stuck?
Where do you notice similar patterns emerge?
Where are you ready to take the next step in your leadership journey?
You may be asking what does mean for me. What might this look like for you in a session?
You may want to find your CEO voice or Leadership voice so we may practice dialogue with the different parts of you that want to be heard, you know we sometimes call them ‘nagging voices’ that we can tend to ignore but they usually have data for us.
We may look at emotions you are feeling disconnected from to enable you to feel more balanced.
You could be someone who is not sleeping properly or not able to relax fully, so we could learn some meditation techniques to help with this.
We might explore core beliefs you have held all your life and see if they are still serving you.
It may involve some clearing of your energetic body including chakra balancing and aura cleansing.
You may want to prepare for a high stake meeting and learn how to enter and be in a relaxed and present state during the meeting, so we would work on mindfulness and presence.