An evolving reflective practice
What does reflective practice mean to you? What do you notice in your thoughts, how do you feel about, what is your body telling you in response?
Of course as coaches, we know that it’s about more than reviewing what worked and what didn’t in our practice.
It’s about our personal and professional evolution and our moral compass; it’s essential, explorative, creative and transformative. Well, in theory at least.
- But what if we find it difficult or even dull?
- What if the blank page is intimidating or we just can’t conjure up the ‘right’ questions?
- How can we embed a practice when it lacks allure and therefore our commitment?
- How can we shape our own reflective practice, so it brings not only insight and learning but energy and delight?
Here are a few considerations based on my own reflective practice last year
1. Invite creativity
Creating the Reflective Habit by Michelle Lucas has been my go-to resource this year on my journey towards a dynamic and engaging reflective practice. I’ve also been supported by a wonderful creative coaching supervisor, David Love who has invited me to use mindful art in my practice. Art may sound a bit grandiose and potentially intimidating (I’m definitely no artist!), but I’ve been using colour to create representations of what’s going on for me in my work and, with his skilful questions and observations, peel back the layers to look deeper. It’s been joyful and transformational and I’ve found supervision a great place to give this a go – a supportive, non-judgemental container for exploration. Thank you, David!
2. Invite collaboration
Since autumn last year, I’ve been reflecting on my work in collaboration with a fabulous group of fellow coaches. We meet quarterly both online and in-person, convening from across England to hold space for one another, offer support and perspective all with a good dose of humour, compassion and creativity. There’s reflective power in numbers, I think and I value the depth and the richness we generate within a trusting frame. Reflective practice has become a joy in this context and a habit I’m happy to cultivate. Enormous gratitude to my collaborators, Annabel Graham Jackie Lawlor Preeta Cooley
3. Invite nature in
When we choose to partner with nature, we discover so many opportunities for deep and creative reflection, whether that’s on a morning dog walk, a mindful wander, a Street Wisdom session or through using images of nature while indoors. Tuning in to our senses provokes somatic knowing while ‘soft fascination’ can free us from the grip of hyper focus and invite a gentle openness into which new learning can emerge. Sometimes, I just find a comfortable spot in the garden to feel immersed in my surroundings, jotting down my reflections as a stream of consciousness to ponder again later, or on a walk I may be drawn to a fallen object, a leaf perhaps, or choose to capture in a photograph the essence of something I know in my body which I haven’t made sense of yet.
There are so many ways I’m yet to explore too. Beth Clare McManus has done some fascinating research into music and mark making for example and I’d love to work somatically to invite a different kind of reflection.
I’m beginning to integrate reflection more creatively into my practice and this in turn is shaping my relationship with it, no longer something on the ‘ought to do’ pile but on the ‘fun to do’ one. I feel a deeper commitment to the reflective process and a desire to embrace each opportunity to refine how I work, deepen my relationships and increase my impact as a coach and coaching supervisor.
I’d love to know more about your own reflective practice: what works for you? When have the light bulbs been illuminated? How is your reflective practice evolving?