Workshop Title: The Practice of Presence for High-Performance Leaders
We hope that we offered our workshop participants an intriguing look into leadership coaching, based on the awakening and alignment of Belly Center, the Heart Center, and the Head Center. Our focus for this year’s presentation was the Belly Center, discovering how strength and will support Presence.
The Belly Center within every leader (and each of us!), when activated, provides for Sustainable Presence, the capacity to be fully present, in the moment, centered, grounded, and able to take appropriate action and sustain it for as long as needed. Organizations like the High Performance Institute are training leaders to take care of themselves physically to be able to maintain the energy needed for demanding leadership positions, but without understanding the underlying psychological and spiritual components.
Presence is the personal manifestation of the essential Being-ness that pervades the universe. It is the force that moves within us to draw humans into the more developed realms of consciousness of which we are capable, allowing us to become the “humans of Being” that is our highest potential.
Lovely – but what does this have to do with what goes on in the C-suites, team meetings, and boardrooms of businesses around the world?
We in the Enneagram world know that profound wisdom can be couched in concepts and language that make it accessible to people of every background and level of development. Becky and I presented a simple five-step model based on Noticing, Naming, Allowing, Accepting, and Acting.
Noticing grounds us in somatic awareness. In neuropsychology, this skill is called interoception, the ability to focus on and identify internal stimuli that help us to get grounded in the here and now by residing more fully in the physical body. The exercise included experiencing the felt difference between being relaxed and residing in the body as compared with the instability that is the result of tension when we try to force strength and will into the body. The debrief addressed the uncomfortable body tension felt by so many people who work in organizations and tips for how to replace it with greater resilience.
In Noticing we draw attention to sensations, an activity that is largely oriented to the functions of the right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex. In Naming we ask participants to describe their experience to a partner who learns to ask: What do you feel? What is happening in your body? Can you connect feeling with physical experience?
The third step is to Allow, which means learning to just stay with felt experiences, especially when they are unpleasant. We guide breathing to create plenty of inner space for each person to sit with whatever is occurring. Especially in business environments it is so counterculture to NOT try to fix things, solve problems immediately, or act out reactively. The goal in this step is to learn to be with yourself. When we can “Be With” our experience we allow something greater than our personal history and reactivity to operate.
Taking Allowing to the next step, we learn to Accept. We begin to recognize that while there always seems to be a split between ourselves and whatever is happening that split is only in our minds. When we do not resist or defend, and instead let go, then we can truly be with Reality in the present moment.
Now that we can have contact with the field and become the conductor of the orchestra, we can identify how to Act. We demonstrated using the OSKAR model from The Solutions Focus: Envisioning OUTCOME, SCALING where we are at the moment compared to the vision; identifying KNOW-HOW that got us to where we are; creating a small next step to take ACTION to move from where we are to just the next step instead of trying to make the outcome happen (almost always too overwhelming and stopping us); then setting up a time and a person with whom to REVIEW what we have done so far; and then work the steps again. Belinda worked with Becky to demo the method.
We invite those of you who attended the workshop to add your insights and welcome input from others who find that this approach stimulates questions or new ideas.