Last places for Eco-Supervision Group

By Martin Vogel

The Eco-Supervision group that I am running this year with Hetty Einzig begins on 25th February. We are piloting an experimental and creative approach that explores coaching practice within the context of wider societal and environmental challenges. 

We have been delighted with the level of interest – which has confirmed our hunch that people are keen to open to fresh approaches.

We have a couple of places left for this round of supervision. If you want to be part of the hatching of an exciting new model, please join us.

More details: Eco-Supervision group in London 

 

Tuning into the cascade of experience

By Martin Vogel

I’ve written before about the stirring voice work of Nadine George. My introduction to the work last year has turned out not to be an isolated encounter but the beginning of an exploration that I suspect I might pursue for some time. Most recently, I joined a two-day workshop in Glasgow with a group of people with varying levels of experience in the method – from decades to none. Nadine’s work continues a tradition begun by Alfred Wolfsohn and developed by Roy Hart. If voice work conjures for you a technical exercise in projecting one’s voice, this is much more than that. It is a journey in giving voice to aspects of one’s self that don’t easily find expression. It’s a form of self-development that takes effect remarkably quickly. If my initial work with Nadine touched me profoundly, the opportunity to practise with a group penetrated to a further level of depth.

It’s harder to write about a group experience than about a lesson on my own. My experience is wrapped up with that of everyone else. It’s not just mine to share. So this piece is published with the consent of the others.

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Eco-supervision group in London

By Martin Vogel

trees

I’m excited to be offering a group supervision programme in collaboration with Hetty Einzig next year. If you are a coach, please join what promises to be an exciting and innovative approach to supervision, starting February 2020. The group will meet monthly for six months in central London. What we are calling Eco-Supervision is a values-based, collaborative and experimental model which explores coaching practice within the context of wider societal and environmental considerations. It is rooted in the models of Analytic-Network Coaching and Eco-Leadership created by Simon Western. We have his agreement to refer to his frameworks. We will draw also on our backgrounds in Transpersonal Coaching, bodywork, creative practices and mindfulness. 

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Creative coaching creates creative leadership

By Martin Vogel

In the knowledge economy, creativity is at a premium. But the same economy encourages lifestyles and working routines that crowd out creative impulses. This isn’t just bad for productivity, it’s bad for wellbeing. This presents a two-fold challenge for coaches: how to stay fresh and creative in how we practice; and, how to support our clients to nurture creativity in their likely busy lives.

It’s something of a paradox that modern life wrings us out. Digital technology, information abundance, the range of choices in how we use our leisure, opportunities for travel – these all offer rich stimulation to our senses and lower the barriers of entry to the means of creativity. But filling our minds with information and our leisure time with activity brings it own stresses, maxing out our capacity simply to process experience. The journalist, Oliver Burkeman, has written recently of how keeping up with the news has transformed from being a contained and relaxing ritual (reading a newspaper, watching the TV bulletin) to a civic duty that (thanks to inexorability of social media feeds) no longer has boundaries. The lost boundaries are not simply temporal they are boundaries of decency and decorum. Browsing the news today exposes us to abuse, hyperbole and dark thoughts about the state of the world – inducing in many a constant state of panic and insecurity. Hardly ideal circumstances for creativity.

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Britain’s shame: projections and substance regarding Boris Johnson

By Martin Vogel

On Tuesday afternoon, a friend in Boston emailed to acknowledge that my country was now officially more embarrassing than his. This had been a bone of contention between us: him cringing at how Trump was eviscerating the reputation of the United States; me pointing to Brexit. But the elevation of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to Prime Minister of the UK had tipped the scales in our favour. Thus was my attempted sabbatical from political engagement brought to an unwelcome end.

On Wednesday, I had a disturbed night. I kept waking to the anxious residues of Johnson’s first day in office, as I absorbed the seizure of government by a clique of “nepotists, chancers, fools, flunkeys, flatterers, hypocrites, braggarts and whiners“ – as Nick Cohen put it, with uncharacteristic understatement.

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Leading from the right: understanding the divided brain

It’ll be ten years in October since Iain McGilchrist published The Master and His Emissary, his magisterial study of the division of the brain into left and right hemispheres and the impact of this division on Western civilisation. I began reading it in 2013 and have finished it in time for the tenth anniversary. Although McGilchrist writes well and lucidly, and although I devour books, I found this one a challenging read. I needed to take pauses from reading it to let its argument sink in. This isn’t just a reflection of my cognitive abilities. McGilchrist writes in ways that draw on both left- and right-hemisphere orientations. My struggle perhaps exemplifies his thesis that we have become inured to left-dominant ways of comprehending.

The outcome of 25 years’ polymathic scholarship, The Master and His Emissary cites 2,500 sources of neuroscience, provides a potted history of Western culture and philosophy from the Greeks to the present day, and displays refined critical appreciation of art, literature and music through the ages. Despite its challenging nature, it is widely cited in coaching and leadership circles, though often erroneously by those who take it to be a confirmation of pop psychology constructs of the left and right “brains” as having different functions: left for language, right for creativity, etc.

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Dare to hope

By Martin Vogel

The hounding out of the Labour Party of a pregnant, Jewish MP is both upsetting and unsettling. Who can contradict the despair experienced by Daniel Finkelstein on witnessing the episode?

“When I watched Luciana Berger deliver her speech resigning from the Labour Party I cried because of its integrity and bravery and grace. And I cried because in my entire adult life what happened yesterday is the one of the lowest, most dispiriting political moments for British Jews. I cried because I despair at what has happened. I cried because I don’t think it is over.”

That the formation of The Independent Group of MPs has elicited a doubling down by Corbyn supporters on their intolerant and antisemitic bile only underlines how precarious is democracy’s reliance on the civil resolution of difference. We may not have reached the nadir. Anna Soubry’s denunciation of entryism and tyranny among the Conservatives shows that both main parties are infected. Yet, in the courage of the eleven MPs who have now quit the two main parties, lie grounds for cautious optimism. They are calling time on the violent discourses that have overcome politics.

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A Holocaust story and its relevance today

By Martin Vogel

Ostrava Nesselroth passage

I’ve been reading the story of how a liberal, prosperous community succumbs to nationalism and xenophobia. In relatively short order, it descends into violence and murder as democracy and the rule of law collapse. Ultimately, it is transformed from a progressive centre of enterprise and culture into a backwater. Its Jewish community is wiped out.

This is the story of Ostrava in the Czech Republic and the rise and fall of its Jewish community. It’s also the story of my father and scores like him who managed to escape the fate of the overwhelming majority of Ostrava Jews and establish lives for themselves elsewhere.

Ostrava and Its Jews by David Lawson, Libuše Salomonovičová and Hana Šústková is a labour of love that pieces together a picture of the community from archival records alongside the testimony of survivors. It represents in microcosm, a rich and detailed portrait of European Jewish life and its relationship with wider society before the Holocaust swept it all aside. Continue reading “A Holocaust story and its relevance today”

Time for a break

By Martin Vogel

Another Advent Calendar of blogposts comes to an end. Thank you for following. I hope you’ve found something worth reading here over the past 24 days. I’ve tried to leaven my tendency to the dyspeptic with more constructive fare. The Nick Cave post has been the most popular of the series. He has a discerning fan base who seem to find their way to Nick Cave related corners of the internet quite quickly. Unplanned, the series began and ended with reflections on accessing one’s whole self. Significant, perhaps, that I didn’t get round to writing about my own experience with this until the end of the run. I’m taking a break from blogging now to make my overdue contribution to the festive preparations. I will resume posting in the new year, but not on a daily basis. Have an enjoyable break. Happy Christmas, happy holidays, however and whatever you celebrate.

Advent Calendar blogposts

  1. On bringing your whole self to work
  2. The benefits of dual nationality
  3. The serious business of playing the fool
  4. From toolkits to relationships: getting real about what happens in coaching
  5. Feeback without tears
  6. Nick Cave as coach
  7. Embrace boredom
  8. Messages from history for Brexit Britain
  9. Shaping disaffection is the way to mend broken politics
  10. Taking the pulse of an organisation
  11. Why write?
  12. England’s shame
  13. Beyond codes of ethics to ethical maturity
  14. Generating expansive conversations with open space
  15. A moderate proposal
  16. The leaders we create
  17. Tracking down Conquest’s law on organisations
  18. The thoughtlessness behind organisational perversity
  19. We’re better than this
  20. Britain’s duff leadership culture
  21. Grounds for optimism
  22. On getting it wrong
  23. Exploring voice
  24. Time for a break

Image courtesy Marilylle Soveran .

Exploring voice

By Martin Vogel

One of the most stirring encounters that I experienced this year was a one-hour lesson with Nadine George on discovering your voice. Nadine has been teaching voice for thirty years to actors, directors and other creative types. According to her website:

“Having spent eight years researching the voice at the University of Birmingham Drama Department, Nadine has developed her own voice technique. She now works closely with many international theatre companies and drama schools all over Europe. She has been teaching at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland for the past 20 years, where her work is now the chosen technique taught by the Centre for Voice In Performance.”

What was I doing there? A good question. I wasn’t entirely sure myself. I was sent to Nadine by my wife who had previously trained with Nadine, and who had an instinct that I’d find the lesson rewarding.

Her method is in a lineage that descends from Alfred Wolfsohn via Roy Hart. These were not names that meant much to me before this year. Suffice to say this is not an entirely performance-based tradition of voice work. Wolfsohn suffered shell shock during the First World War and used vocalising as a form of self-treatment after other therapies failed to help. While Nadine does not claim to be a therapist, she recognises that her work has therapeutic impacts.

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