One of the fundamental beliefs that lead us as coaches is that each person can find the solutions to the problems that (s)he faces. Our job is to help the people we coach listen to the internal answers to their questions. Our personal experience gathered during our coaching trainings, our own personal development, our coaching sessions and our supervision has brought us to clearly realize that there is an internal voice, an inside presence, that knows the answers to our deep questions. As long as we are in the right conditions and state to ask the question and listen to the answer. We believe that we really are coaches when this is what the coachee experiences.
At Terres Inconnues, we seek to put in place the right conditions so that the groups of people we work with access this type of internal intelligence when they look for new answers to the challenges they face. This can be during their strategic work sessions, their annual conventions, their executive committee meetings, their change programs, their customer care or employee care programs. To create moments of collective clarity, of collective creativity either around a new vision, or a new strategy, a new product or service.
We help groups access an inspirational source. Often only top executives and leaders, or future top executives receive this type of assistance, especially in leadership programs. We have had the honor of co creating or co facilitating such programs at large companies such as BNP Paribas, GDF Suez, Danone, Lafarge and Sanofi Aventis. It has become increasing necessary in these times of doubt to apply these learning techniques to larger sets of people.
Today, given the great challenges that we are facing, much larger communities need to connect to these "internal voices that know" so that organizations can tap the collective intelligence rather than their leader's solitary brain power. We are appalled to see how many companies, confronted with real difficulties, decide to freeze "for a while" all collective thinking, to exclude external facilitators from their meetings. These costs are so easy to cut. Then, under the pressure of the shareholders or "the market", leaders decide alone to saw off some branches of the organization (units, factory, headcount, members of their teams, …). Afterwards discussions start with the unions. During quite a long period, all transparency, all trust, all open discussions are forbidden. The only outside help these companies look for is strategy consultants, leadership coaches and outplacement agencies.
Well they've got it backwards: this is the right time to mobilize the full intellectual capacity of the organization. Leaders must have the courage to trust, even when it comes to looking for Innovative solutions to the problems at hand. And this requires setting up the right conditions so that large groups can access, at the right time and the right place, the voice that knows.