During the latter part of the dreaded 2020, we had the opportunity to be involved with three organisations, one non-profit organisation, one church-based organisation and the other, a public company. Two sessions required some training, coaching, team building, and an extra ordinate amount of fun. The third session entailed the facilitation of a strategic workshop on a coaching basis. The outcomes of the sessions were that we delighted our clients. We are grateful for the experience and opportunity to serve.
One may ask, “How do you combine typical corporate training and team-building with spirituality?”. Another question may be, “Is the workplace a place for spirituality?” Admittedly, exciting questions.
My interest in spirituality, mindfulness, meditative practices, well-being, and connection propelled me to experiment with these aspects within corporate and organisational settings. What can I say, I am an eternal student and do love sharing my learning to our clients’ benefit.
Although some people may argue that the work environment is separate from spiritual backgrounds, that may be true for some. My perspective is that we have been created as spiritual beings, standing in relationship with the Creator, creation, ourselves, and one another. Some may hold a different view, and that is your full and fair right to differ. I am very respectful of people having diverse religious and spiritual convictions. Nevertheless, our differences do not detract from our being incorporating spirituality and essentially being spiritual.
Working further with this assumption about our nature allowed me to view all activities that we may embark upon as spiritual. Transforming stock standard training and coaching into moments flowed from this thinking.
How did we do it? I want to share three case study outlines with you. In one situation, we had to deliver training on recruitment practices and how to conduct an interview. We designed three contemplative moments, one as part of the welcoming, sitting in silence and breathing; another was silence and use of a finger labyrinth. Lastly, it was to observe an icon/picture and allow quiet time. We conducted training in the morning, followed by group coaching regarding stress management and harmony. The evening activity resulted in fun and laughter. The client remarked that the delegates felt well-rested and in connection with L/life.
The second case study was a team-building session as part of a strategy session. The session was started with a body scan meditative practice, followed by discussing the team’s results using a personality questionnaire, followed by a fun activity. The feedback afterwards was positive, and mention was made of how calm and relaxed the delegates were feeling and appreciating the practice. Some mentioned that they want to build it into their typical day and meetings.
During the third case study, we developed a coaching based process aimed at delegates listening and hearing each other, to create a collective sense of understanding, to establish sufficient vulnerability and a common ground to move forward. After the checking in, all delegates had to share an overview of their current business situation. After listening and hearing each other, the group went into a period of silence, followed by reflection. The group set the scene for collaboration; a much-needed aspect for progress and crafting a new possible future.
What were our learnings from the session?
• In COVID-19 circumstance, people need to see and listen to each other, hearing one another’s hearts.
• Work is a spiritual activity where people can connect, interact, collaborate and support one another.
• Reminding people of their spiritual nature invites a more caring and compassionate side into the workspace.
• Intentional listening and reflection engage the heart and creativity, creating openings for the new to emerge – immovable minds turn into agile minds.
• Decentring problems from people, allow participants to see the problem as the problem, and not regard one another as the enemy/problem.
• Management teams could incorporate meditative practices into corporate rituals, for example, meetings.
• Work, rest, and fun are interrelated elements and form part of growth and development processes.
• Working sessions could be more relaxed, lowering stress, anxiety and performance anxiety levels.
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