How do we encourage quality professional conversations, where trust and personal safety are guaranteed? This remains an inspiring question for me as a facilitator. Trust and safety are a prerequisite for any participant of a professional conversation to show vulnerability, and a requirement for deep learning.
Examining your assumptions
Learning at the surface level, where you are seeking a practical solution to a problem from your usual assumptions, is sometimes simply necessary and useful. But learning to examine inherent assumptions is, of course, a much more personal process that raises more uncertainty and fear, and therefore demands more from the learning environment. Not just from yourself, but from the facilitator as well, as from the tools used. Leading intervision (peer review) I therefore like to call it a professional art, similar to coaching.
Last week I had an interesting conversation with my colleague, Hans Paul Sparenberg in Leiden. He developed the InteractionViewer, which is an online tool to correctly work out peer review cases in advance. It is also possible to use these, at a later stage, for other conversation types. The interesting thing to me is that this tool is based on cognitive psychological principles. This is of enormous help in the beginning of peer review cases, as the case can be properly and extensively prepared beforehand, (the intervision has already started!) and it promotes commitment, the discipline of the contributor. In addition, it encourages all to think about his or her assumptions. And you can do it online!
On 7 March, Hans Paul and I, along with Sibrenne Wagenaar, will lead a webinar through Losmakers. Together with colleagues, we’ll explore how this tool works for us. This will be a small pilot and not a real peer review, but now I want to examine how we can maintain the highest possible quality of this professional conversation. So, how to remain safe, what is needed to build trust and, perhaps most importantly, can this trust actually be realised?