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Episode 149

January 26th, 2022

149: Holding space for those who hold space with Sharon Leigh

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    Some might not expect an introverted, neurodivergent woman like Sharon Leigh to ‘fit’ with facilitation. But anyone can access, practice, and succeed with it – as Sharon knows from personal experience.

    In fact, Sharon doesn’t just fit with facilitation – she excels at it.

    Together, we cover a huge amount of ground in the world of facilitation, taking in the sights of inclusion, digital spaces, and holding space for facilitators.

    We also take some unexpected roads and unmapped routes, traversing the hitherto uncharted territory of workshops and neurodivergence, collaborative living, and knowing how to give someone a mood-boosting hug through a computer screen.

    This episode is a perfect summary of why I started the podcast. We uncover some incredible insights around the practice of facilitation, but we get there by looking deeply at what it means to be human and how we can connect with each other in simple, meaningful ways.

    Find out about

    • What it takes – and why it’s so important – for facilitators and coaches to have their own space for reflection
    • Finding gold among the heavy rocks and fast flowing waters of the pandemic
    • Why going online can make meetings, group work, and connection more accessible to all
    • What Sharon has learned about facilitation, boundaries, and communication from collaborative living
    • Why great workshops don’t provide great content or solutions, but ‘brain vacations’
    • How a pared-down agenda leaves space for the real magic of your workshop to come through

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    Questions and Answers

    01:24Before I hit record, you were telling me about a book you’d like to write called “COVID Conversations: Not About Covid, But…” 05:42Do you think we can keep the extra space we’ve developed for questioning and connection? 07:22You say that the work from home mandate has been “your time”, what do you mean by that exactly? How have you benefited? 10:37What’s an applicable truth that you’d share with a neurotypical person, that you’ve learned from trying to ‘fit’ in the world as a neurodivergent person? 17:31How can we, as facilitators, reach out to include others who might not be so comfortable with being themselves? 20:27How do you facilitate self-care? 25:23As coaches and facilitators, how much can we be in service to our loved ones? 31:08Learning to check in and ask permission, determining the difference between giving someone space to vent and space to have their problems solved. 42:12What’s the digital equivalent of reaching out to give someone a reassuring, serotonin-boosting hug? 45:54Do you think this fear of judgement comes from our proclivity for projection? 47:11 How can we change this mindset of judgement, if at all? 02:12 How would you go about ‘yanking people off the cliff-edge’ of emotional vulnerability and risk-taking – in a group setting? 07:38What was the structure you followed for starting your collaborative household? 09:47What’s a learning you would pass onto someone considering collaborative living/a shared household? 13:12Can you give me a few examples of the boundaries you’ve set? 18:09What makes a workshop fail? 23:56What’s your favourite way to build trust and go deep quickly? 26:38Is there a maximum number of participants you’ll work with in a workshop? 30:47Are there clues or hints that you’d look for in a workshop as to the participants readiness, relaxedness, and openness?


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