Tuesday, October 13

Zen, Improv Theatre and Responding to Change

Steve Mitchell conducted a very interesting and useful session at Agile Coaching Circles last night.

I experienced Steve's workshops before at LAST Conference 2013. Along with the session on visual communication his was the most the memorable workshop at that conference. I have certainly obtained a lot of milage out of those workshops over the years. I have used them on software teams to increase mindfulness and creativity, at my toastmasters club as an ice breaker and on my children as a fun bonding activity.

Steve's workshops are an interesting blending of Improv Theatre, Mindfulness Training, Divergent Thinking Training and Buddhist Philosophy. With one exception the exercises  Steve taught were different from the ones I learnt before.

He started off with a spatial awareness meditation to help get us in the mood and shake off the cares of the day. 

When I have used Steve's exercises on client's before I haven't incorporated his Eastern Philosophy, however after the session last night I am starting to think that was a missed opportunity. The Buddhist religion has surprising synergy with Change Management as its core principle is the need to be open to change, that all suffering is caused by resistance to change, by attachment to the Status Quo and our own Imagined Future. I probably won't mention to my clients that elements of what I am teaching come from Buddhist Philosophy. Steve certainly didn't mention Buddhism during the session, I was only aware of the origin of some of the ideas from other sources. Mindfulness, of course, comes directly from Buddhism, even though listening to Western Psychologist and Business Gurus, you would think they invented it.

It was a refreshing change to attend a workshop that was so active. This active participation  is one of the reasons I find Steve's exercises so valuable. Instead of passivity receiving the wisdom of the presenter the attendee are constantly engaged participants in their own learning.  Even small workgroup sessions are not this active.

Instead of teaching us how to convince others how to except change, Steve taught us to be more open to change, by both, teaching us by example, and teaching us that change begins with us.

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