Aug 8, 2023
Welcome to Facilitation Stories, brought to you by the England and Wales chapter of the International Association of Facilitators, also known as IAF.
In today’s episode Pilar Orti talks about running circles (spaces for dialogue) with Jindi Mann, founder and facilitator of Leader Brother Son and coach and organizational consultant at The Selfish Leader.
Jindy recently ran the Men at Work survey as part of his work with Leader Brother Son, where he works with groups of men. The work has the potential of benefiting mental health and diversity. The Men at Work survey in particular, was a way for them to gather some insights into the male experience at work. In particular, it highlighed what men find hardest to talk about at work and what can help them show up more fully at work.
To explain the roots of his work, Jindy talks about his early life, growing up in a British Indian family, his two business degrees and masculine cultures in the business world. He came to realize that he had an opportunity to work with this, as he was seeing the same thing repeatedly: the idea of taking up this role of "man" without interrogating what that means. Alongside some other coaches, Jindy started offering free online groups two and a half years ago. They’ll be starting their 10th group in early August.
There is a short application process for joining the
groups. Intersted participants first make
an enquiry on the company's website, and this is followed by a short conversation to align expectations and understand the principles behind the sessions. There are typically, eight to twelve people in each group and at least two facilitators in each session.
As the work comes from a personal space for Jindy, he often feels the tension between leading or guiding the group and just allowing the space to be what it is. Jindy and the other facilitators are not the ones who have the answers, they are not defining what a man should be or what Masculinity is, but they are holding the space by contributing and holding the principles and the shape of the conversation, rather than telling it where to go.
Throughout this work, Jindy still feels that tension of when to take some sort of action as a facilitator or when to contribute or when to say anything. He uses the coaching acronym WAIT – why am I talking?
Jindy has started to refer to himself more explicitly as a "facilitator" when starting doing this work with men, but he has used facilitation in different ways in his consulting career.
As to how the work with the circles and his co-facilitation have evolved, Jendy shares that when the groups started they introduced specific topics for discussion, but soon they started to invite the group to say what it wanted to explore. He shares some of the theories and practises that have influenced him including the idea from Wilfred Bion of that there are thoughts present in the group, but they haven't yet found a thinker.
It can sound almost mystical, but the unconscious is always present, is always active in a group. And collectively things can emerge in a group.
(For more on this read any of Jung or Freud’s work and Experiences in Groups by Wilfred Bion.)
Jiindy has trained as a facilitator with Way of Council and in the conversation he shares his experience there and its overlap with psychodynamic theory.
Jindy talks about his co-facilitators Aaron, Mark and Russell and how they met, and how they all bring something slightly different and have different influences. But that they have an important chemistry between them.
The team are not taking their work into organisations. The work here will be different as the dynamics in organisations will be different than in an open group. People there will have assumptions about each other, and there will already be a sense of status and hierarchy.
Jindy shares the pros and cons of doing these groups in person and online and about AI in coaching and wraps up with a couple of broad reflections: firstly, the conversation about men and masculinity is growing. Secondly, there is an increasing need for great dialogue and for great facilitated spaces for all of the things we're facing as a society.
If you want to find out more about Jindy's work, you can go to Leaderbrotherson.com. And also you can also check out his other organization called The Selfish Leader.
He is on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jindymann/
Men at Work Survey https://www.leaderbrotherson.com/resource/men-at-work-2023-survey
Leader Brother Son https://www.leaderbrotherson.com/about
You can connect with Pilar Orti on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/pilarorti/
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