#CAWCONF16 – Anthony Kasozi on Complexity, Contradiction, Connection and Collaboration

Anthony Kasozi leads us into the afternoon session with a challenge to the days narrative so far….

We live in a predictable world – the sun will rise tomorrow, this talk (or blog) is happening right now and it will come to an end.

We live in an unpredictable world – what changes are coming, how will society evolve

He says that Complexity is nothing new as contradictions can come with that complexity and can lead to connection and finding links and patterns that we never knew or thought existed.  If fact, it can forge collaboration as I blogged about in the Kathryn Jackson session earlier (see more here)

So the question for us as coaches is what might this call us towards?

Anthony chose to share 4 stories and to allow us to make our own sense and meaning out of the experience(s) we have.  The stories we have and tell ourselves really matter.


If you want to know more about that, you may want to read about ‘relevance theory‘ 

Anthony’s stories were varied and one linked to each theme of his talk:

1) Connection – Anthony shared his full name and the history and background and meaning of all aspects of his name.  He did that because he said it is a story that helps him connect to his past and a sense of who he is.

2) Contradiciton – In the village where Anthony grew up there was an issue with goats.  Goats are a source of meat and milk for the people in the village and were enriching lives.  At the same time they were destroying lives by eating all the crops and plants.  For a long time the village council say and debated what to do and his reflection is that there are times when we need to not make a decision and see how things evolve.

3) Complexity – Anthony shared that there was a time in his life where he was around a hospital (or maybe clinic I’m not sure) in East Africa that treated people with AIDS.  At the time he struggled to understand and work with the complexity of treating people with an illness that would kill them and for the nursing staff in particular to do this again and again for all the people that come through the hospital/clinic.

4) Collaboration – The people that we often coach are very clever and knowledgeable about their area of business and so will jump to or want solutions.  The more complex the environment the harder it is to know what is the ‘right’ or ‘correct’ solution.  If we can ‘lean in’ to collaboration and bring others into the problem or challenge and then assert towards solving the issue ‘together’. We may like it to be easy or quick and it is not always like that.

So what does that mean for us as coaches?

We know that relationships matter – the effectiveness of coaching is increased with the quality of the relationship.  So how do we bring more of ourlseves and our identities to the coaching relationship.

It is interesting to me that I hear a lot about bringing your ‘whole self’ to work.  I like the challenge that is being given to coaches to assess the extent to which they do that themselves.

This post was live blogged from the Coaching at Work 2016 conference in London.  I have done my best to represent it well and if I have done so poorly, please let me know and I will happily update and edit accordingly

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