Use resistance and polarization as resources for sustainable change.
Achieve BIG things using the S.M.A.L.L. approach.
Seeing – gaining appreciation for both accuracy and completeness in issues and challenges important to you and others
Mapping – to build Polarity Maps that support performance measurement;
Assessing – conduct assessments and diagnose results of how well or poorly you or others are leveraging a Polarity;
Learning – make meaning from assessment results; and,
Leveraging – develop quality Action Steps and measurable Early Warnings to achieve sustainable high performance.
Our Coaching Philosophy
The core of the Xperience coaching philosophy/approach begins with a belief that each client is creative, resourceful, and whole – and holds the answer to his or her issue/s and challenges. Our role is to guide with the right questions, assessment tools, or models which lead clients to the answer/s.
Generally, three things happen in the client experience. First, we leverage the wisdom of existing client experiences, values, and strengths to RETAIN. Second, we identify elements specific to the purpose of the coaching that the client wishes to ATTAIN. And third, we integrate them in generative ways that the client can SUSTAIN over time.
Xperience coaches have expertise in many useful assessments, models, and tools. A specialty area includes values assessments and the role polarities play in creating generative and sustainable high-performance. When a client situation indicates, coaching to polarities combines the skill of coaching with the art and science of Polarity Thinking. Blending these two disciplines opens opportunities for clients to see and experience powerful breakthroughs.
Often, the key to sustainable and generative high-performance is helping make what was previously invisible and intangible for clients, visible and tangible. With new information, the client is better positioned to design actions, set goals, and become responsible and accountable for new behaviors with the support of the coach. The high-level view/philosophy of the Polarity Coaching process we follow includes a 5-step process as: 1) Seeing, 2) Mapping, 3) Assessing, 4) Learning, and 5) Leveraging. This experientially focused approach to capture the often elusive “IT” of generative and sustainable high-performance is central to the results that clients achieve, which is core to the Xperience brand.
Cliff Kayser is a Coaching Fellow in George Mason’s Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-being. For more information on this new program. Check it out HERE!
Polarity Thinking is part of the Advanced Coaching Certificate Program at Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-being.
Also, The Gestalt Institute of Cleveland offers Coaching to Polarities as part of their curriculum.
Polarities are interdependent values (i.e., structure/flexibility, stability/change, cost/quality, task/relationships) which often compete and appear to be at cross purposes with one another. Polarities exist at all levels of human systems and are distinct from problems to solve. When a polarity is identified, there is a choice and opportunity for leaders, teams, and organizations to tap the inherent energy system as a resource for generative and sustainable change (or not). The research is clear. Leaders and organizations that have the ability to recognize polarities as distinct from problems and tap them as a resource outperform the ones that can’t or don’t.
Polarization, fixes that fail, chronic ongoing negative oscillation (ditch-to-ditch driving), and stuckness are symptoms of poorly managed polarities. Xperience coaches hold both ICF and Mastery-level training certification in the nuances and complexities of polarities and use of the Polarity Map™ and process. The result for clients is ”PolarOPTIMIZATION” – achievment of generative and sustainable high-performance results.
From Dr. Barry Johnson, thought leader and creator of the Polarity Map and principles:
“Cliff and his colleagues at Xperience bring passion and dedication to their work and to those with whom they work. They know the basics of Polarity Thinking and can go beyond the basics to address complex and chronic issues experienced by leaders, teams, and organizations. For Cliff, Polarity Thinking is not just a tool for a tool box — it is an energy system within all interdependencies in life that he can join and assist you in leveraging.
The spirit of discovery and openness to learning that Cliff and his colleagues at Xperience shares with clients has made our collaboration a source of joy and learning for both of us. Cliff provides a solid combination of head and heart and I recommend him and other Xperience colleagues, with respect and affection.”
*Polarities and the Polarity Map™ assessment tool was developed by Dr. Barry Johnson, of Polarity Partnerships, LLC
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What are polarities and what is ‘Polarity Thinking’
Interdependent pairs show up for all of us in work and life. We need:
Structure AND Flexibility in our strategies and policies
Continuity AND Change to address internal and external challenges
Candor AND Diplomacy in our communications
Activity AND Rest for optimum health
Effective optimization between Work AND Home
Notice the “AND” above where you most often see a “VS”… EIther/or problem solving uses “VS” for just about everything. With problem-solving, one of those choice would either right or wrong. We would select either one choice or the other. We need that type of thinking for many things — but not everything!We seem to be hard-wired and in many ways, addicted, to “either/or” problem-solving thinking. Some issues and challenges aren’t solvable. They require “both/and” polarity thinking.
Polarities are interdependent pairs and dynamic energy systems that live in us and which we live within. Polarities are inevitable, endemic and perpetual. Polarity Thinking and Mapping (a process and tool developed by my friend and colleague, Barry Johnson, PhD), supplements and enhances either/or problem-solving thinking. Leveraging polarities reduces polarization and creates generative and sustainable advantage for individuals, teams, and organizations.
New Innovations in Polarity Thinking
A first innovation has been in evolving from Polarity Management to Polarity Thinking. Polarity Thinking, similar to Systems Thinking, is a way of seeing the world. Beyond a set of principles and map that had been the cornerstones of Polarity Management, Polarity Thinking becomes a lens through which you can view all of your work and life.
A second insight we’ve included in our most recent work is expanding managing polarities to leveraging polarities. Leveraging opens the door to exploring how we can gain maximum positive impact by understanding and being able to tap the energy and power of polarities in any situation.
As of 2013, Polarity Partnerships coined and began using the S.M.A.L.L. approach in Polarity Thinking coaching and consulting:
SEEING – See an individual, team or organization and their Polarities more completely
MAPPING – Create assessment ready Polarity Maps
ASSESSING – Assess how well key Polarities are being leveraged (this can be done in large systems through the use of the Polarity Assessment for Continuity and Transformation — the PACT)
LEARNING – Make meaning of assessment results from diverse stakeholder perspectives.
LEVERAGING – Achieve the Greater Purpose of each Polarity (developing Action Steps and Early Warning Indicators of downsides)
The Polarity Assessment is a step-by-step process to leverage the energy of key polarities for leaders, teams, and organization systems.
See www.polaritypartnerships.com for more information and resources!