Learning from strong landscapes

I mentioned in The path to learning that I’ve been reading ‘The Old Ways’ by Robert McFarlane. Another line that struck me was this:

… we should ask of any strong landscape …’what do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else?’

Many of us will recognise the concept of strong landscapes. In a strong landscape, we feel in our element and everything just flows. For me, my strong landscape is outdoors, up a fell or on a cliff path. Maybe yours is in your garden or at sea or in your study or on a snowy slope or in the buzz of a city.

One of my clients – let’s call him Marcus – was telling me about the new team he joined a few weeks ago. ‘I’m finding it really difficult to settle. I haven’t found my feet there yet, I don’t know where I fit.’

This was a new and uncomfortable feeling for Marcus. He’d really wanted this job and was disappointed to be struggling.

Remembering the concept of strong landscapes, I asked Marcus if he could tell me about a place which he’d describe as a strong team landscape. He pondered for a moment, started to speak and then stopped and frowned. ‘What were you going to say?’ I asked. ‘Well, I’ve got an example,’ he answered,  ‘but it’s nothing to do with work..’

‘Is it about a team and did you feel at home there?’ I asked. ‘Yes’, Marcus replied. ‘Let’s hear about it then,’ I suggested.

Soon we had sticky notes all over the wall, listing what it was that made his rugby team such a strong landscape for him. They included:

  • I know my role
  • I know my team
  • We all know what we’re doing
  • We train together
  • We have a shared goal
  • We socialise together
  • We look out for each other
  • We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses
  • We celebrate together

As we worked through this, Marcus began to see what was missing for him in his new team. By the end of the session, he’d drawn up a list of short-term and medium-term actions he wants to take to strengthen his new team landscape. I’m looking forward to hearing how it’s going next time we meet.

 Today’s pebble for you to ponder:

Where is your strong landscape? What do you know about yourself there that you struggle to know elsewhere? How can you bring that to your current setting?

What do you think?

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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1 Response to Learning from strong landscapes

  1. Pingback: One perfect moment | Turning over pebbles

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