Yesterday I was running a half day workshop on Using Core Values As A Compass. We set out to unearth and bring into the full light of day the wonderful richness of the values held by the 6 participants. And what richness there was.
Each person spoke about themselves, using the starting place of “a perfect moment” to explore what matters most to them. Each was witnessed by the others in the room, who then fed back the values they had heard in the story.
That’s where the idea of the clapperboard came in. Sometimes the person speaking was struggling to find the right words to explain what they had heard. They were groping around and then allowing their gremlin voices to say they were inadequate. So I pulled out my toy clapperboard (a couple of quid on Amazon and one is winging its way through the post to you) and asked what it symbolised for them:-
Yes, both of these things. Yet also the sense that we don’t have to get it right first time. We can go back and try again, and again, until we find the words that truly express what it is we’ve seen in the other person.
The best exponent I know of not needing to get it right first time is Elaine Jaynes. Elaine, along with Mary Butler, led my Coaches Training Institute Leadership course in 2009-10. She modelled elegantly a number of ways to create time and space to find the words she needed. Some of the ways in which she did this were
- holding up her hand and saying “there’s something I want to say about this and I haven’t found the words yet. Just bear with me whilst I think”.
- using her hand to gesture a rewinding motion and saying “that’s not quite it, just rewind that”.
- gesturing rubbing something out with an eraser and saying “scrub that out/erase that – here’s what I really want to say”.
In the last couple of years I’ve been learning to use these, along with the clapperboard, to both create space for my words and to teach the techniques to others. They work. And, because I’m not needing to be right or perfect, my gremlins shut up.
Try it and let me know what happens.