Monday 11 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 11: Pipe Cleaners

25 unconventional coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight

Whilst not as new a tool in my toolbox as blackout poetry, pipe cleaners have only been with me for just over a year. Here's notes from that first session exploring improving communication with internal stakeholders.

It never fails to amaze me how effective this tool is at allowing people to develop a plan to resolve a problem they've been struggling with for some time. We've had a few great sessions recently during some procurement workshops. One team even left the workshop keen to use the pipe cleaners with their stakeholders to help shift a problem they'd been facing :-).

Here's the journey I took with pipe cleaners a few weeks ago, just before this series of posts started:

There's no reason for me to understand why this represented the current stuck situation, but it did! 

That's how the unconscious works - there's no need for the logical brain to know - so long as the right more creative side does!

I was grappling with making it something else, something less stuck and boring, and more motivating and able to stand up on it's own (rather than use the candle holder you can see in the image above).

As I did this I found myself turning it upside down and, perhaps because I'd started to think about this advent series of blogs, the idea of a Christmas tree came to mind.

Here's the journey of that idea...  

It won't win any prizes but that's not the aim - the aim it to explore an issue without words, without logic, and to allow the unconscious to guide the exploration, and in so doing to release the blocks to progress, and for insight, inspiration and action to arise.

I can't say I felt any great insight at the time, but as I reflect on what's happened since then I'd suggest life has given me:
I can certainly see these outcomes in the resulting Christmas tree.

I'm afraid the only way to truly understand how effective this process is, would be to have a go yourself. Do let me know how you get on.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here.

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