Circles are timeless in human tradition. They are sacred spaces that are naturally inclusive, inviting intimacy and courage. They allow us to meet as equals for bringing new possibilities into being.
With circle-based learning, the relationships around you become mirrors in which you find daily your teachers and supporters, challengers and cheerleaders.
There is no more ‘guru’ when you start to view those around as both teacher and equal. Daily experience becomes your personalised tutor to all your growth and development.
For humankind and planet to thrive, these times demand new ways of leading that are inclusive and co-operative. To meet with the complexities and urgencies, it is vital we bridge separation and individualism in order to co-create new solutions and systems that are healthy for self, each other and the planet.
The wisdom to do so comes from accessing different parts of who we are in different moments and contexts. This is where learning circles are incredible opportunities for learning and growth.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Some reasons for adopting a circle approach to growth and development for you and your team could be:
You operate in a leadership or other influential role in which conventional training by ‘experts’ alone no longer suits or enriches you.
You seek and welcome fresh perspectives, constructive feedback & healthy challenge.
You recognise you can grow, impact & influence far more by co-operation & co-creation.
You are curious about and/or value Peer Learning as a grounded, progressive & practical process for integrating ongoing learning & development.
You want to feel supported and enjoy yourself as you grow!
Developing the multiplier effect
deeper listening & observation through consistency & trust
watching out for each other’s blind spots with clear & compassionate feedback
witnessing & accountability between peer learners
flexibility & presence
learning & adapting, more fluidly & in the moment, to the needs of oneself & others
challenging with kindness
courageously, consciously constellating tension & emotion
embodying vulnerability & open communication to today’s emerging leaders
The value of authenticity
“Richard facilitates and leads as he lives – with a combination of deep humility, integrity and joyousness that shine through all the way. His natural ability is to be authentic, which is so invaluable in his work and in the world, with the reliability to deliver what’s needed.”
Channelling energy into innovation
“Richard has an innate ability to manage the energy of the room and is able to probe issues that most would consider ‘untouchable’… Richard’s trust in himself and in the dialogue process exposed far more powerful and engaging ideas than would otherwise have been the case creating a highly valuable breeding ground for innovation and development of the ideas and people present.”
Presence & trust
“Richard has that very unusual highly intuitive quality which allows him to observe and listen in that way brings out the very best in people. The quality of his feedback is incisive and sensitive, allowing individuals to operate at their peak performance. He has a distinctive presence, which I can only sum up in the feedback I gave him at the time, ‘This is already the best programme I’ve run…and the reason is your presence allows me to trust being who I truly am'”
The new paradigm that is birthing is seeded in self leadership; this is subsequently nurtured and disseminated into the world through co-leadership. It’s a both-and paradox of personal responsibility for oneself and mutual responsibility for the whole.
These are some reasons why circles are so vital for our communities and our leadership:.
- more active listening and enquiry
- reducing anxiety and isolation as a leader
- being more present, even with discomfort
- healthy vulnerability, building empathy and trust
- channeling difference and disagreement into innovation
- growing out of resistance and conflict into renewal
- deeper, more honest, authentic relationships
Below are examples of programmes, directly or through trusted partnerships.
How we meet:
- 8 modules delivered face-to-face or online; with reflective practice between sessions
- Developing small teams of facilitator-leaders in a presence-based approach to all development and delivery; to extract the ‘juice’ via participant-led content
- A shorter intrdocutory version can be customised to meet your needs
Topics / Content:
A presence-based facilitator is a life long learner by practising, experimenting and reflecting. This programme offers a module-based structure, with experiential style of reflection and practice. It covers foundational themes for enhancing presence-based delivery across the cycle of a programme for your learners and/or teams, inclduing: preparing self and space, reading the energy of a room, engaging with challenge and tension as opportuntiies for tranformation, starting and ending ‘well’.
What you will learn:
- To enhance presence-based facilitation skills, confidence and usable tools.
- To bring to your work your unique flavour of facilitation by being yourself, finding your voice, and encouraging others to do likewise.
Benefits / Outcome:
- Being able to identify when you are at your best & how to set yourself up for success
- What to prioritise in self care to support you to be present
- Greater confidence, across your team, in yourselves and your toolkit
- Leaving with tools, new ideas and practices to anchor learning and support ongoing use.multi-faceted reciprocal learning
- Grounding learning in ongoing practice – i.e. not just what did you learn, but what can/will you do with it.
How we meet:
- 10 modules over 10 weeks, including community-based practice and support
- Delivered face-to-face or online
- Developing small teams of leaders in a presence-based approach
- Inlcludes guided content from specialist contributors
Topics / Content:
The Mighty Heart Course for Organisations: will show you how to use conflict and crises successfully as a source for transformation. We listen to your challenges and bring forward the components of the course that will help you the most; whether that be decision-making, communication, well-being, values or purpose. We work with small leadership teams to groups of more than 150 people. You and your team will learn how to shift energy; from anger and anxiety to action; from fatigue to service, developing an overall safer and thriving atmosphere at work.
The Mighty Heart Open Course: developing and equipping changemakers with the tools and approaches to transform conflict that may be internal, at family, organisational or even national level.
What you will learn:
- The skill of deep listening to transform the conflicts people are facing
- Compassionate communication needed to prevent arguments escalating
- A way to change your inner critic into a wise guide
- The skill to use anger as a fuel for transformation
- The sense of your own strong presence to call on in a crisis
- A way to develop intuition as a wise guide in making decisions
- Enlargement of your capacity to speak truth to power
- The skill to take a stand on an issue you care about and be fully heard
- The integrity to be in service to the world
How we meet:
- experiential group learning approach to developing mentors and preparing mentees to have the most fruitful and long term mentoring relationships
- structured peer group support to continue growing and capacity building, individually and together
Content / Topic:
As a partner with Mowgli Mentoring for more than 10 years (as both mentor andfacilitator), we believe that effective mentoring empowers individuals and businesses to go further, faster. By enabling entrepreneurs and leaders to unlock their human potential, they can better lead others, make more informed decisions, build stronger businesses and support their communities and countries to fulfil their long-term economic and social potential. The dream that every entrepreneur and leader has a quality mentor by their side because it is available and accessible, is what is driving us forward.
As global unemployment levels continue to worsen, micro, small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to survive, let alone thrive. Navigating these times of uncertainty and volatility has never been so unforgiving and lonely, yet it doesn’t have to be.
Topics we can talk about within a mentoring approach:
- increasing organisational talent and leadership pipeline
- supporting entrepreneurs to better structure, and develop their businesses with the support of experienced and locally trained mentors
- driving business performance by enhancing leadership and employee experiences through mentoring
It is through the mentees’ personal growth and empowerment, that they are better equipped to grow and develop sustainable businesses that provide economic opportunities, inclusion and growth, and ultimately generate vital job opportunities within
How we meet:
- In a space that enables you to bravely evolve yourself and your business
- In a spirit of collaboration that encourages you to test your ideas, exercises, concepts
- To share our learned experiences in a community of peers
- To enhance our professionalism of facilitation and training to a deeper level, and with greater rigour
Content / Topics:
As facilitators & coaches, we are only as good as our own development. SOF is a welcoming community of motivated individuals who gather to explore their craft and hone their skills. Through in-person events, digital summits and expert training, their own facilitation journey will prosper, whatever the experience level. Meeting with like-minded connections who share passion and drive to develop…and to have fun!
SOF Campfires are monthly online gatherings specifically for our new and growing SOF Africa community. They are also an entry point to access more of the resources, events, coaching and connections in SOF’s wider global community.
Attendees of the campfires share their resons for showing up in this space:
- To recognise “the power of facilitation” as a natural way to learn and communicate
- To continue to learn and grow
- To share tools and experiences for enabling and impact
- To co-design – and the spirit to do so – to create communities and ripple effects
- To live one’s passion for Africa
- To see facilitation as a leadership training tool and approach
- To share with others what I wasn’t taught (as a facilitator), especially the intangibles, and especially around Diversity & Inclusionas a force for positive change
How we meet:
Content / Topics:
- multi-faceted reciprocal learning
- broadening development beyond existing strengths
- enhancing soft skills (communication, empathy, trust…)
- transforming challenge into opportunity
- greater inclusion through bridging difference (role, age, gender…)
- shared innovation of new ideas, approaches & practices
- objectively curated to hold a ‘true course’
Shift the paradigm
Facilitation and leadership are synonymous. Like being human, leadership starts with being. It is organic, changes and grows, according to the environment, context and need.
The most powerfully, positively influential and uplifting leaders are those who radiate an authenticity rooted in their own personal story. This alignment consistently feeds and energises their vision with discipline, dedication and devotion.
The new paradigm that is birthing is seeded in self leadership; this is subsequently nurtured and disseminated into the world through co-leadership.
It’s a both-and paradox of personal responsibility for oneself and mutual responsibility for the whole.
This is integral to a style of leadership that is called for, emerging and gradually being acknowledged as foundational, relevant and necessary for this time. It is a balance of inclusively receptive feminine and benevolently focused masculine.
It has a genuinely gentle and generous power that is both kind and determined, allowing and resolute, receptive and driven. Like yin with yang, each in the other, as a whole.
These are reasons why circles are so vital for our communities.
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~ Bob Kerrey