I’m still digesting the incredible Art of Hosting training we held in Karlskrona last week with 90 young leaders from the Masters in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, KaosPilot, Team Academy, Youth Initiative Program and other youth leadership networks throughout Europe. As well as the upcoming collaboration as the Sustainable Kaos Academy Initiative, the joint platform for our four programs, it was fantastic to see so many connections being made, project ideas formed, and some great skills development amongst the participants in how to host groups in having the conversations that matter most in the world right now.

I learnt a lot from watching our very skilled hosting team in action – Toke Moller, Tenneson Woolf, Rowan Simonsen, Valentine Giraud, Jasmine Cargill, Augusto Cuginotti and Julie Arts (see their profiles here).  Thank you to our wonderful hosts!

Here are some notes on my learning highlights on hosting from the 4 days:

Art of Hosting methodology and tools

Introduction

Tools are containers. They are the way in to the learning space. The learning space will not open through hard work – it will open with art, skillfullness and practice.

Don’t become a disciple of a particular methodology. Instead ask:

  • What is a tool going to serve?
  • What’s the purpose?
  • What’s needed?
  • What does the group need/want?
  • Timing – what’s best now?
  • Choose and blend your use of tools depending on your responses.

Use the tools for something that is needed. There is definitely enough work to do, and these tools will help us reach the learning space, so that energy can be released and used for what is most needed.

Asking great questions is a warrior’s art – do it gently, but it’s still a fierce art. Know your ‘sword’ and don’t be afraid of it by posing the questions that matter.

Overall guidance on Hosting:

  • Be present
  • Have a good question that is connected to the heart of the matter and what you feel from the group
  • Use a talking piece  (a stone, ball or other object) to allow deep listening and meaningful speech.

Hosting Tools:

Circles are the mother of all processes

Proactive Café is a sharp tool for convergence and birthing tangible project outcomes with support from a group

Appreciative Inquiry shifts the emphasis from solving problems to feeding and amplifying what works in a situation/group

World Café builds relationships and helps the intelligence of a group emerge as the system connects to itself in diverse and creative ways

Chaordic Stepping Stones (Need, Purpose, Principles, People, Concept, Limiting Beliefs, Structure, Practice) is a great tool for project management

5 Breaths Model (Callers, Principles, Invite, Event, Practice + Hosting the Whole as a sixth breath) is a great model for integrated project planning and event management.

General reflections from Toke Paludan Møller on process, purpose and action:

Process

  • A person who cannot ask for help cannot be trusted (because they don’t trust others)
  • Relationships are the path to working together. Relationships are the medium tangible results come from. Don’t plan for outcomes, build relationships. Don’t push and control, tend to the growth – inspire, notice, appreciate.

Purpose

  • Helping birth and cooperate with life wanting to be its connected self
  • Do work that makes you tremble
  • Confusion is a blessing – this is a learning space. A leader must be open to being confused – it represents a willingness to let go of fixed and existing ideas
  • The significance of sacred intent – why am I on the planet?
  • Hunt for clarity! By holding clarity at the centre you earn the right to lead.

Action

  • Action will come from heartfelt work. An awakened human being is action.
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